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Over the last couple of weeks I’ve tuned in to ‘Grantchester’ on ITV.

I knew of it in advance because my stepdaughter worked on a couple of the episodes, but it was only when it aired that I realised it’s based on short stories by one James Runcie, son of the late Archbishop of Canterbury.

Out of interest, I bought the first volume on Kindle. I am not given to criticising another author’s work but here I’ll make an exception. Leaving aside  the very obvious Father Brown comparison, I found the prose laboured and the dialogue as stilted as any I’ve ever read. The works are labelled as mysteries, without a scrap of the mysterious about them.

Runcie Junior displays no obvious latent for crime fiction, and yet he is pulling in TV rights money, and no doubt spin-off royalties, on the back of  his name alone. Worst of all, he has stolen part of his father’s life, in that he has portrayed his character Sidney Chambers as an active officer in WWII. The late Archbishop won the Military Cross, in the Scots Guards, like Chambers, and not for preaching good sermons. He was a tank commander and is reckoned to be the only holder of the Canterbury office to have killed another human being, as Sidney is shown doing in episode one.

What next, I ask myself? Can we expect the recently retired Archbishop Rowan Williams to unveil a Druid detective?

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