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James Runcie Books In Order

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Publication Order of The Grantchester Mysteries Books

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sidney Chambers and The Forgiveness of Sins (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Road to Grantchester (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Colour of Heaven (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Discovery of Chocolate (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Canvey Island (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
East Fortune (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Great Passion (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Tell Me Good Things: On Love, Death and Marriage (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Short Sentence(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The BBC National Short Story Award 2021(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

James Runcie is a British author born in 1959 in Cambridge. He has also made quite a name for himself as a television producer and film-maker.


James Runcie’s father, Robert Runcie, is the former Archbishop of Canterbury. Runcie went to Dragon School in Oxford. He also attended Marlborough College as well as Trinity Hall, Cambridge, eventually attaining a first class degree in English from Cambridge University.

With works like Canvey Island and East Fortune under his belt, James has written novels in a variety of genres, this including the popular Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, a collection of six short stand-alone mysteries.

Best known for his mystery works, James Runcie’s books are in the process of being adapted for ITV, with filming taking place in Grantchester, Cambridge, and London

While it took the author some time to successfully make his way into the literary arena, James Runcie isn’t new to the world of Media. He has worked with BBC Scotland, writing and directing a radio drama for them between 1983 and 1985, the author also receiving credit for Radio shows like The White Julie’, Men Would Weep’ and A Private Grief’.

He has also dabbled as a freelance director of documentary films, working with writers like J.K. Rowling and Hilary Mantel. Some of James’ films include How Buildings Lean’, a six-part series, and My Father’.

James’ efforts as a writer and director have allowed him to work with the likes of ITV, BBC and Channel 4. He is particularly renowned for J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life’. For the documentary, James spent a year filming J.K. Rowling showcasing her life as she put the final touches on the last book in the Harry Potter series.

The documentary purposed to provide audiences intimate access to Rowling’s daily life. This included many personal interviews delving into Rowling’s childhood and the many struggles she has encountered over the years as a writer. James managed to capture Rowling’s vulnerable moments, especially when she would weep remembering her life before writing Harry Potter.

For his work on the film Miss Pym’s Day Out,’ James Runcie won the Royal Television Society Award in 1992. He has also earned nominations for How Buildings learn’ and The Gentle Art of Making Enemies’.

The author also won the BAFTA Scotland Radio Drama Awards for Mrs. Lynch’s Maggot’.

James Runcie is married to Marilyn Imrie who works as a Radio Drama Producer. The two were married in 1985. They have one child, Charlotte Runcie, a writer, and poet. Runcie also has a step-daughter, Rosie Kellagher, a freelance theater director.

+The Discovery of Chocolate

The discovery of chocolate is an inventive journey through time. An engrossing, rich and exotic tale, the Discovery of Chocolate is told in a series of vignettes that span four hundred years.

These are four stories that revolve around chocolate. The protagonist of the story is Diego de Godoy, an immortal given the opportunity to preside over the discovery and refinement of what he calls a divine confection. Admittedly, his reflections on his life and the world around him are a little tiresome and trite, leaving readers hungering for a narrator with more flare.

In 1518, Diego is introduced as a young Spaniard whose only objective is to win the heart of the Lady Isabella, going so far as to join a ship of conquistadors heading for the Americas.

Not long after he sets off on his journey, though, his devotion begins to wane. During his stay as Montezuma’s guest in Mexico, he meets the lovely Ignacia, getting his first taste of the smooth yet bittersweet drink that she serves him, chocolate.

Having found love and a substance of divine taste, only to lose both, Diego wanders the world. Over the centuries, he is driven only by his desire to find the fulfillment he knew in Mexico.

The episodes that follow his journey are dramatic and evocative, witty and yet thought-provoking as the Spaniard travels from revolutionary Paris to Vienna. Ever by his side is Pedro, an ever-faithful greyhound. Diego seeks the meaning of life and the perfection of chocolate.

The discovery of Chocolate is a little silly. The premise is none the less quite promising and one would be hard-pressed to find a more original concept. Whether or not James actually capitalizes on the potential of the premise varies from reader to reader.

Some people have complained that James doesn’t make very effective use of historical settings, instead moving a little too swiftly through some of the world’s most important events.

There is also a disturbing lack of detailed description, the author a little too caught up telling us what Diego is thinking to actually show us Diego’s world. While the novel is unlikely to satisfy the expectations of most readers, it is none the less worth reading for its unique premise.

+The Color of Heaven

This romantic historical quest finds its setting in Renaissance Venice and China. This James Runcie tale is a fictional account of a man that travels to Afghanistan and China to discover a precious stone that changed the history of painting. Allowing artists to discard gold as a background, lapis lazuli, when turned into ultramarine, opened up depth and landscape as well as perspective by making available beautiful shades of blue most artists hadn’t dreamed possible.

During his journey, the young man, Paolo, struggles with unfulfilled love before making his way back to his family in Venice. Paolo also contributes to the discovery of lenses.

The Color of Heaven is a story about self-discovery. A coming of age tale of a boy that must become a man during his difficult quest for a stone with the colors of heaven, The Color of Heaven is a very pleasant read.

Surprising because of the characterization it delivers as well as the depth of the story, readers have attested to experiencing a sense of peace after reading this James Runcie tale, this is despite the rather tragic elements of the story.

A unique take on historical events that digs into the psyche of a troubled young man, the book might not necessarily appeal to some readers (especially those looking for a simplistic read) but it tells the sort of story that should intrigue the majority of historical fiction enthusiasts.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Runcie

2 Responses to “James Runcie”

  1. Pierre LeMaster: 1 year ago

    I have just finished “The Great Passion” and enjoyed it very much for the themes and musical education. Our Book Club has chosen this for our April selection and my wife and I will be hosting the discussion. If M r. Runcie could supply some book club questions or background information, we would be most appreciative.

  2. Kathleen S Pedigo: 3 years ago

    I look forward to reading Mr. Runcie’s books as I have enjoyed the Grantchester series on PBS. I especially like that it is based on an Anglican priest as I am an Anglican too.


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