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Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night

(The Grantchester Mysteries #2)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  3,114 ratings  ·  360 reviews
The loveable full time priest and part time detective Canon Sidney Chambers continues his sleuthing adventures in late 1950's Cambridge. Accompanied by his faithful Labrador Dickens, and working in tandem with the increasingly exasperated Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney is called on to investigate the unexpected fall of a Cambridge don from the roof of King's College Cha ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Bloomsbury USA (first published May 9th 2013)
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SaraJaneW Late teen to adulthood. These books delve into the world of murder mystery, but also touch on adult relationships and their inner workings. Nothing…moreLate teen to adulthood. These books delve into the world of murder mystery, but also touch on adult relationships and their inner workings. Nothing untoward, but perhaps not all that interesting or relevant to a younger audience.

Book two also touches on Russian occupied Berlin and the beginnings of the establishment of the Berlin Wall, so that may also pose a point of confusion for anyone who has not yet learned about that part of our history. (less)

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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,114 ratings  ·  360 reviews

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M.R. Graham
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, mystery
Much mystery, caught up in its attempt at edginess, loses itself in gratuitous sex and gore. Edginess has its place, of course, but I’ve grown tired of it. I wanted to take a few steps back from the edge.

Sidney Chambers has provided for me a much needed break. I found the reading at once light and weighty, a balance between vibrant, whimsical characters and their brushes with the darker side of human nature. The language is elegant and cerebral without being overbearing, and it fits the period w
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second volume of the Sidney Chambers Grantchester Mysteries is presented as a linked series of six short stories outlining six episodes in Sidney's life from 1955 to 1961. Sidney, leads what looks like the cosy life of an Anglican priest in a parish just outside of Cambridge. He is Canon of Corpus Christi College and as well as tending to his parishioners, teaches theology to undergraduates, enjoys walks with his dog Dickens and pints in the pub with his detective friend Geordie Keating, wi ...more
Jun 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
More shenanigans involving village preist and amateur sleuth Sidney Chambers.
Very enjoyable although a little more cricket and sermon detail than I would have liked!
Brian Clegg
Aug 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I love detective fiction, but I'm very parochial about it - I'm only interested if it's English. Even Scottish is too alien. At the moment most of the big names in the field are silent, so it was interesting to discover on Waterstones' BOGOHP table this book by James Runcie.

I think it's fair to say I give it a mixed reception. I love that it's set in Cambridge and Grantchester, and unlike Colin Dexter's Morse books with its fake Oxford colleges, Runcie has chosen to use actual settings. It is mu
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are mysteries! In England! And a labrador retriever! And a not too overtly religious priest who is handsome and also warm! [airhorn sound effect]
Ivonne Rovira
In the second novel of a series, Sidney Chambers, Anglican priest and canon of Corpus Christi College (one of Cambridge University’s actual ancient colleges), once again dabbles in detection. As with the debut novel of the series, the new novel consists of a series of short stories — some related, some not — with each case contained within a chapter. However, whereas in the debut novel of James Runcie’s series, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, the slow pace and distractions created a cha ...more
Book two in the Grantchester mystery series featuring Vicar Sidney Chambers moves along in time from 1955 to 1961, into the Cold War era and the building of the Berlin Wall. Again it is written in six short stories, perfect for televising. Sidney performs as both clergyman and part-time detective, saying "I hope one does not compromise the other."

1) The Perils of the Night deals with the climbing death of a don at Cambridge and gives a look at the Cold War tactics going on behind the scenes of t
Mike Sumner
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second volume of the Grantchester Mysteries held me spellbound. An evocation of childhood for me, the wonderful pastoral atmosphere that surrounds the gentle Canon Sidney Chambers and the dour Inspector Geordie Keating, has much to remind me of my childhood growing up in a country parish. Runcie's ability to capture the atmosphere of the 50s and 60s with reference to actual events adds to the enjoyment. His description over several pages of a village cricket match held me in suspense, an eru ...more
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
What happened to the charm of the first book? This book was so bland in comparison (and the first book really wasn't all that great to begin with)... As with the first book, I found the mysteries rather pointless (what's the fun in a mystery novel if you can't play along?), but this time, the English scenery and setting weren't well enough described to keep me interested. If you enjoy the minutiae of cricket or physics, you might find this enjoyable, but there was precious little here to pique m ...more
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Six stories featuring Canon Sidney Chambers, Vicar of Grantchester move his life from the 1950s to the 1960s. Will he marry Amanda or will he marry Hildegarde with whom he is conducting a long distance relationship at the start of the book? Sidney finds himself drawn time and time again into investigating crimes which are really none of his business.

‘The Perils of the Night’ is an atmospheric story about the night climbers in Cambridge – who climb the various college buildings under cover of dar
Jun 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Slightly less enjoyable than the first in the series (maybe it was the short story format or the fact that I know nothing about the game of cricket) but will definitely come back once Number 3 is released. I personally think however that he married the wrong woman. So we shall certainly see what develops in the future.
Enjoyable and easy read of a village near Cambridge that seems to have a high volume of crime! I found the first story in this collection a bit difficult to keep track of, but enjoyed all the rest. I especially enjoy Sidney’s wrestling with his doubts and his faith, and I love the progression of the characters throughout.

I will now look forward to reading the third in the series.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Much of this book I liked even better than the first, particularly the philosophical musings and religious perspective. Most of the mysteries were well done, but there were a few places where I was left hanging, which was not so enjoyable. Looking forward to the next.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not really a review, just a few random thoughts:

I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did as the first in the series, it seemed a lot slower to me, and I found it far too easy to put it down and not pick it back up for several days (or weeks).

Far fewer of the stories translated over to the tv series this time, I'm not saying that's good or bad, I have no strong opinion on that at the moment.

At this point, I much prefer the tv show over the books, though the books do get a point in their favor for
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
I'm amazed at how many things Runcie is able to write about, and write well: theology, murder, music, cricket and even love (I fell for both Hildegard and Amanda, by the way). A real class act in the ostensibly cozy mystery genre.
Page one, Winter. It’s the 8th January 1955. Night falls: “The external blackness was a memento mori, a nocturnal harbinger of that sombre country from which no traveller returns.”. That took me unawares. The last I’d expected was for the son of an Archbishop of Canterbury to start painting a picture of the hopeless condemned in Hades / Hell / the Underworld, and in the very first paragraph of his book too! Is nothing sacred?

Wrong-footed thus, I then got a bee in my bonnet as to why Mr Runcie s
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
The down-side of reading books electronically is the difficulty of flipping through to get a sense of the structure. It took me quite a while to understand that this book is a series of extended short stories - the printed equivalent of a television series. Since the television series Grantchester was the reason I had bought the book, this should not have surprised me.

Once I had a better sense of what I was reading, I enjoyed the experience. There are shades of Father Brown - episodes and incide
Sid Nuncius
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This second volume of Sidney Chambers stories continues in much the same vein as the first – and thank goodness for that! I like them very much, and I am pleased to see the quality being maintained.

The book opens in 1955 as Sidney is required to investigate an Night Climbing death in Cambridge, along with his friend the excellent Inspector Keating…and you probably don't want to know much more than that before reading it. The stories all have the combination of detective work and moral debate whi
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my second Sidney Chambers mystery. As a Canon and Anglican Vicar, I have an interest in his life. The time period of the 2 novels in the 1950's in Grantchester, outside Cambridge. The time is also during the reconstruction of Great Britain after WWII and the beginning of the Cold War.. Each book is divided into long chapters telling the story of a murder or mystery. At one point Sidney's Dad jokes, "There are more people dying in Grantchester that at the Somme."
This book begins with a p
Vikas Datta
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read... very well evokes the English life of the 1950s. Canon Chambers is a gem of a character and his dogged attempts to let justice prevail are most engaging in these half-a-dozen nuanced stories which weave in the atmosphere of superpower rivalry, espionage scandals, the transition to a multi-ethnic society and the resultant tensions, the space race, academic pursuits and skullduggery and of course, cricket. And Inspector Keating is an able foil. Look quite forward to getting the ...more
Jennifer Hughes
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because the first Grantchester book was almost identical to the PBS show, I was surprised how much this one was different from the TV version. There's nothing wrong with that--both are enjoyable on their own--but the plot went in a completely different direction than I expected. The TV version can't sit back and enjoy the subtleties of Runcie's great writing but has to magnify molehills for the sake of drama. I'm enjoying spending time now in the more low-key camp.

I really enjoy the Grantchester
Ah! What a relief! I took the long way 'round, but I have now finished all of the Grantchester Mysteries that are currently available.

The slow burning arc started in Book One and moved throughout Book Two wrapped up wonderfully! This particular book was very heavy on post-war espionage and political atmosphere, but it was still enjoyable. This book is probably tied with Book Three for 2nd place, with Books One and Four tied for 1st. I wonder where the 5th book will fall?
Sally Ewan
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
"Another verse, (pretty much) same as the first!" For some reason, Sidney Chambers was less charming this time around. Perhaps it was due to being read about in fits and spurts amidst the busyness of real life, as opposed to the relaxing atmosphere of vacation. Or maybe it was the torment of watching his inability to make a move and get the girl (woman). For someone who so loves jazz, he sure seems uptight and emotionally stunted!
Michael Gallagher
Jul 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Short stories featuring a priest turned detective in 1950s/1960s Cambridge…communist spies, bigamist bridegrooms, and poisoned lemonade at the cricket match. It’s a little lightweight admittedly, but it doesn’t really get much cosier—or gentler—than this.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Still enjoyable but I really disliked the chapter called "The Hat trick". The only thing more boring than watching cricket is reading about cricket. In excruciating detail. If not for that chapter, I'd have given the book 4 stars.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Another excellent collection of short mystery vignettes starring the doggedly determined amateur sleuth, Reverend Sidney Chambers. Vastly superior to the TV show, with a depth of character hardly touched upon in the show, and the ending had me cheering.
Kate Howe
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I adore James Runcie’s writing style. It’s so pristine and down to earth at the same time. I loved the progression of Sidney’s character in this one. These books are a kajillion times better than the tv series.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I discovered that the storyline presented in this book has not been covered in the TV series.

A bit of suspense, mysteries to be solved and more character development.

Reoccuring theme - the people of the town keep telling Sidney that he needs to get a wife.

Enjoyed the story!!
Alan Swift
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sidney Chambers is a wonderful creation and these stories are as charming and comforting as a favourite armchair in which to have a cup of tea and a caramel wafer. Runcie captures the period expertly and offers an easy going and entertaining set of diversions. Nonetheless this is not altogether a frivolous series of books and the author does pose interesting theological questions to balance the read...just enough and thankfully not too many!! This was a perfect foil after reading a heavy Hilary ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wanted to see if the books were similar to the show Grantchester. Interestingly they both are and are not. I enjoyed it and now I'm going to have to go back and read the first one.
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James Runcie is a British novelist, documentary film-maker, television producer, theatre director, and Artistic Director of the Bath Literature Festival.

Other books in the series

The Grantchester Mysteries (6 books)
  • Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries #1)
  • Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil (The Grantchester Mysteries #3)
  • Sidney Chambers and The Forgiveness of Sins (The Grantchester Mysteries #4)
  • Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation (The Grantchester Mysteries #5)
  • Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love (The Grantchester Mysteries #6)
“The “wonder” felt by the shepherds at the Nativity, or the disciples at Pentecost; that sense of amazement when we experience something that is so far beyond our comprehension and yet it is still revealed to us in all its glory as a gift from the infinite. I think we’ve lost our awareness of what “wonder” really means: the more we content ourselves with the narrow confines of our existence, the less we wonder.” 3 likes
“It is what often happens in the establishment. Inconvenient truths are left buried. If you don't ask too may questions of a gentlemen then you won't be disappointed."

"And this is what makes us British?"

"It is our face to the world," Sidney replied. "Many of us are civilised, charming and perfectly genuine people. Others have developed their reserve into a form of refined deceit. It's why people find the British so intriguing, Georgie. The line between the gentleman and the assassin can be so very thin.”
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