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SoCu Mystery

Mystery reviews posted every 5 days from a librarian at a tiny public library.

Review for Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death - James Runcie

I was surprised by how much I liked this book. Typically I’m one to dismiss out of hand books that revolve around priests, but I’m glad I stuck with this one. In spite of the main character, the plot of the book was for the most part not centered around Christianity or having a moral message for the reader. The book’s primary value was that of compassion, something I think that people can find relatable and sympathetic regardless of their religious inclinations, or lack there of.


The book is split into six short stories, which do vary in quality. The penultimate story is the low point of the book in my mind, being practically the sole reason that I didn’t give this book a five star rating. Aside from that story, though, I found the rest of them to be incredibly entertaining. The characters in the book are sympathetic and the secondary characters don’t suffer from being underdeveloped. I also appreciated that secondary characters made recurring appearances in more than one story, not seeming to exist purely to further one plot and then vanishing into the ether.


What I particularly liked about the book was the way that Canon Chambers was still invested in his life outside of the crimes he was investigating. Rather than having his detective work act as an escape from his every day life, it acted as a continuation of it. Chambers pursues his criminal investigations as his civic duty.


The book was altogether very enjoyable and I’d definitely read further in the series.