Thursday, May 28, 2015

Let Us Read. Amen!

The City:  Atlanta

The Date:  28 May 2015

After reading The Forgiveness of Sins (which was released on 19 May by Bloomsbury), I want to reaffirm something I said in my debut entry earlier this month.  While, I am sure The Grantchester Mysteries are classified as a cozy series, I really disagree.  While there certainly is that comfortable glow of village life - especially English village life in the books - this series has an edge that I honestly haven't found in other cozy series.  First of all, this series is unique in that each volume is not one mystery, but a collection of six short mystery stories that stand alone.  And part of the uniqueness is that in spite of the fact that there are six separate stories there is a thread of continuity in terms of time and the progress of the characters' lives.  As far as I know, this particular format is not part of the traditional cozy formula.  

This is a series that I can, once again, thank Jeff for.  He came home one day a couple of years ago with the first volume in the series, The Shadow of Death.  He was intrigued by fact that the main character was an Anglican priest.  He was further intrigued by the novel fact that the author, James Runcie, was the son of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, who officiated at the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.  Jeff knew this would totally appeal to my Catholic self (not to mention my anglophile/royal lover self)and he was right.  Although, I have to admit, that there was a tinge of disappointment that the main character wasn't a Catholic priest in the Father Brown tradition. However, in retrospect, I'm glad Sidney is an Anglican priest, because it has given so many wonderful opportunities to his character that simply would not exist if he was a Catholic priest.  

The Forgiveness of Sins, is for me, thus far the best of the four volumes that have been published. There's a wonderful "settledness" about certain aspects of Sidney's life that I am glad for and that will allow for very interesting character development in the next two volumes.  From the beginning, James Runcie declared that there would be only six volumes in the series spanning from 1953 to the mid-1970's. Once again, this is another very unique aspect of the series:  that it's finite from its inception which I believe  disqualifies it in the cozy category.  I personally, like idea of the finiteness.  Perhaps not every series, but so often, the series cozy addicts follow, create impatience regarding the progress of the main characters' lives.  Case and point:  it took 17 books and 13 years of my life for Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy to get married. I was happy to do it, happy I did it, but nonetheless it was still 17 books and 13 years of my life.  So, sometimes I think it's nice to know that a series will have a limited run.  

As I've said before, this blog isn't about writing in-depth book reviews, therefore, I will cease talking about this recent title in the Grantchester Mysteries and move on to its newest incarnation:  the BBC's production for television simply named:  Grantchester.  I am a huge fan of this production.  The producers, writers, director and most especially, the actors, completely bring that "edginess" to the series that the books have.  The scripts are tight, intelligent and infinitely sophisticated.  As an actor myself, I rejoice in the high quality of the writing.  These very talented actors are all extremely lucky to have such wonderful scripts to work with and their understanding and appreciation shows, because they all give first-class, intelligent, sensitive performances.  This is most noted in the actor who portrays Sidney Chambers:  James Norton. 

Let me just get something out of the way, right now, so that I can move on.  This actor is so handsome, so sexy and such a good actor it's hurtful.  And that collar just sends me over the edge.  Ok.  Now that I've gotten that off my chest ...

In any case, the series is probably one of the best mystery series from the BBC in a while.  It's unique and interesting; beautifully art directed and beautifully acted.  A case where the books and the series are perfect compliments to one another and both worth investing time and money in.  I hope this will encourage others to read the books, watch the BBC series or both!

For more information on the Grantchester Mysteries, both the books and the television series, please visit:

For more information on Mr. Runcie, please visit:

As always, I would love to hear from all my fellow Cozy Addicts and , of course, should you wish to know more about me, please visit my website:

June will be bringing two new cozy titles from series I read, so please stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment