James Robert Runcie (born May 1959 in Cambridge) is the son of Robert Runcie, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
He went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he gained a first-class degree in English. He subsequently trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before becoming a British novelist, documentary film-maker, television producer and playwright. He is Commissioning Editor for Arts on BBC Radio 4, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and visiting professor at Bath Spa University.
Runcie married the theatre director and radio drama producer Marilyn Imrie in 1985 and they have one daughter together, Charlotte Runcie, born in 1989. Charlotte currently writes as a literary, television and radio critic for the Daily Telegraph.
From 1983 to 1985, Runcie worked in radio drama for BBC Scotland as a writer and director. His work included Miss Julie, The White Devil, Roderick Hudson, Men Should Weep and A Private Grief.
Runcie works freelance for the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4. He has won two BAFTA Scotland Radio Drama Awards for Watching Waiters and Mrs Lynch’s Maggot and been nominated for a BAFTA award for the film Great Composers – Bach.
Runcie’s sleuth novels featuring Sidney Chambers have been adapted as an ITV drama titled Grantchester, filmed on location in Grantchester, Cambridge and London. He also writes lifestyle pieces about family and literature for major UK newspapers.
Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death – May 2012 –
Book 1 of the Grantchester Series
Sidney Chambers (played by James Norton), the Vicar of Grantchester, is a thirty-two year old bachelor and unconventional clergyman who can go where the police cannot.
Together with his roguish friend Inspector Geordie Keating (played by Robson Green), Sidney enquires into the suspected suicide of a Cambridge solicitor, a scandalous jewellery theft at a New Year’s Eve dinner party, the unexplained death of a well-known jazz promoter and a shocking art forgery, the disclosure of which puts a close friend in danger. Sidney discovers that being a detective, like being a clergyman, means that you are never off duty…
Sidney Chambers and The Forgiveness of Sins – May 2015
Canon Sidney Chambers is back, continuing his investigations. A mysterious stranger seeks sanctuary in Grantchester’s church; a shooting weekend in the country has a sinister end; a friend receives poison pen letters; a piano falls on a musician’s head; a school cricket match has an explosive finish; and on a holiday in Italy, Sidney is accused of stealing a priceless painting. On the home front, his new curate has become irritatingly popular with the parish and his daughter is starting to walk and talk.
The Colour of Heaven – Nov 2012
This is a fictional account of a young man who travelled to what are now Afghanistan and China to discover lapis lazuli, the precious stone that when turned into ultramarine changed the history of painting, allowing artists to abandon gold as a background and open up depth, landscape and perspective with the most beautiful shade of blue.
Along the way, Paolo suffers the torments of unfulfilled love before he returns to his anxious family in Venice, where he also plays a part in the early development of lenses and spectacles!