GRANTCHESTER “Episode 1.” ITV, UK, 06 October 2014. Shown in the US as part of Masterpiece Theater (PBS, 2015). James Norton (Sidney Chambers), Robson Green (Inspector Geordie Keating), Morven Christie, Tessa Peake-Jones. Based on the short story collection Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, written by James Runcie. Developed for television by Daisy Coulam. Director: Harry Bradbeer. Currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

   Sidney Chambers is the Anglican vicar in the small English village of Cambridgeshire. Set in the early 1950s, you might say that the small town is as dangerous place to live as Cabot Cove, since the series is now in its sixth season. Blessed with a honest smile and a sense of who people are, he makes a good partner with local policeman Inspector Keating in tracking down murderers; the latter is a by-the-books detective who resents Chambers’ intrusion on this, their first case, but they quickly become good friends.

   The reason for the initial resentment is that Keating thinks the case is all wrapped up, as an obvious suicide. But after Chambers is persuaded to intercede by the dead man’s mistress (and the wife of his business partner), Keating reluctantly has to agree that Chambers – and his keen eye for items found at the murder scene – is right. It’s a good mystery, but I claim it’s unfair to the viewer to not be able to read what the two detectives do in the dead man’s diary. Well, we do, but you can measure the length of time it’s on the screen in nanoseconds.

   Both stars have engaging personalities, however, and that goes a long way in paving over small little complaints such as this. There is, or will be, an ongoing sub-plot that may prove interesting, that of a platonic girl friend that Chambers has known since they were both were young. But when she announces her engagement to someone else, it appears that both of them are beginning to wonder if their friendship was so platonic after all.