A party at a country house. A purloined ring. Murder and seduction. This is the week that Grantchester gets really juicy as the mystery surrounds Sidney and his sister’s friends from school, a universally snobby lot who all act like they’ve got something to hide. The occasion for their gathering? Amanda’s engagement party, which Sidney is loath to attend — given his feelings for the bride — but for his sister’s pleas.
Back in their school days, Sidney’s sister Jen had less money than her peers and was made to feel insecure by her friends, and now she’s dating a black jazz musician, Johnny, who talks with the best cockney accent ever. Yet married couple William and Lillian and sexually liberated Freud-espousing type Daphne all still possess the ability to get the Chambers siblings in a muddle.
Sidney needs a drink. Everyone is uptight and the fireworks trigger his wartime PTSD. Amanda’s intended is a chap called Guy, and he seems stuffy and rich and utterly unlike our dear, warm, angsty Sidney. Sidney’s coping mechanisms intimate that his choice to come was both wise and unwise. In the course of the night Sidney is warned away from Amanda by her father, snipes and insinuations evolve into arguments, and Johnny, coming to Jen’s defense, spills drinks artfully. Somewhere in the midst of the ensuing furor, the considerably-sized ring which had been passed around is revealed to be missing.
The white men present (Sidney excluded of course) are quick to blame the theft on Johnny. Everyone’s in a huff. Yet the plot thickens when Lillian is found dead, floating in a canal like she’s in a doomed pre-Raphaelite painting. At first it seems like suicide, or an accident maybe.
Geordie gets involved in the investigation and when he discovers that Sidney has an “in” with the snotty folks who knew Lillian, they team up again (hurrah!). Not only are they seeking an answer, but they also want to exonerate poor Johnny, who has been thrown in the clapper, since the baubles of the deceased (though not the ring itself) were found on him.
As per usual there are dead ends and red herrings in the questioning process — and our two sleuths share some ace banter — but when all hope seems lost and Johnny seems doomed, Sidney has one of his not-divine revelations. And it turns out, of course, that it was a crime of passion and the maid was lying. [SPOILER!] Daphne and William were sleeping together on the sly, Lillian weaseled them out at the party, which explains why things were so tense. During a confrontation things got physical and Lillian ended up dead, her head smashed on the stairs.
All is well, and the ring, which was cleverly hidden in a flashlight, goes back to Amanda. Of course, this isn’t exactly what Sidney would be hoping for, is it? “Why are you marrying him?” he asked Amanda of the wooden Guy. “Because he asked,” she replies. There’s got to be more to it than that, though.
We get to the bottom of each episode’s mystery, but will we ever get to the bottom of Sidney’s heart?