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Mystery & Math in Cambridge #BriFri

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

Mystery & Math in Cambridge #BriFriWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish - reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week, Tina's post talked about the TV drama Broadchurch and a book club for English fiction that she discovered on Goodreads. Becky reviewed a pop-up book about Shakespeare. Jean reviewed the memoir The Young Ardizzone, by classic illustrator Edward Ardizzone. I talked my IRL friend, Rachel, into sharing her post on puns in Shakespeare with us - check it out because I learned a lot.

There are a lot of mysteries set in Cambridge, England. I loved Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton last year (second in the Lacey Flint series). This year, I've read A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear (eighth in the Maisie Dobbs series) and The Bursar's Wife by E.G. Rodford (first in the George Kochyaran series).

I have a very long list of other Cambridge mysteries to try, but let me know if you have any favorites.

For a mystery to watch, I enjoyed the ITV / Masterpiece Theater show Grantchester. I recently re-watched the first two seasons on Amazon Prime. To see the third season, I activated the PBS Passport that came with my membership to my local PBS station.

Grantchester features a vicar, Sidney Chambers (played by James Norton), who makes friends and solves crimes with Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (played by Robson Green). Grantchester is set in the 1950s - fortunately, lots of the architecture that they use in the village of Grantchester and Cambridge has been around for much longer than that.

Grantchester is a real village a couple of miles south of Cambridge. Students traditionally punt the River Cam to an orchard in Grantchester for picnics.

According to Wikipedia, the church and churchyard in the show is the Church of St Andrew and St Mary in Grantchester. They filmed on King's Parade, a main street in Cambridge, using period cars and buses, and swapping out restaurant furniture and menus for re-creations of the 1950s versions. They have also filmed at the Chatham Historic Dockyard. Since I knew to look, I recognized some locations from seeing them in Call the Midwife or from pictures on the visitor's website for the dockyard.

An amusing post on the WETA (PBS for Washington DC) blog explores all the rumors about whether or not there will be a Season 4 for Grantchester.

Another theme for Cambridge, recently, has been films about mathematics and mathematicians, all featuring splendid and iconic Cambridge scenes. We've seen these in the last year or two:

  • The Theory of Everything (about Stephen Hawking)
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity (about Srinivasa Ramanujan)
  • A Brilliant Young Mind (the last quarter or so of the movie shows an international math competition at Cambridge)

We planned to go to Cambridge on our last trip. My plan was to go on the London Walks day trip that begins at King's Cross railway station in London. Here's a video with bits and pieces of that tour:

But, we didn't do that, so I'm wondering if we want to try a different plan. I'm working up an itinerary for a few days in Cambridge to help us decide if we'd prefer to do that. I'll post that in a week or two when I'm finished with it. What would you do if you planned to spend a few days in Cambridge?

Mystery & Math in Cambridge #BriFri

About Joy Weese Moll

a librarian writing about books

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