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Friday, February 5, 2016

Review - The Cracked Spine

Paige Shelton is the author of the Farmer's Market, Country Cooking School, and A Dangerous Type Mystery series.  This is the debut novel for her new Scottish Bookshop mystery series. 

Author: Paige Shelton

Copyright: March 2016 (Minotaur Books) 304 pgs

Series: 1st in Scottish Bookshop Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Delaney Nichols, new employee at The Cracked Spine

Setting: Modern day, Edinburgh, Scotland 

Obtained Through: NetGalley/Publisher for honest review

Delaney Nichols just packed her bags and moved halfway across the world to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. Her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime and Delaney can’t wait to take her spot behind the desk.  The Cracked Spine is filled with everything a book lover could want. 

But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact goes missing, and Edwin’s sister is murdered. Delaney is now part of the family and she jumps in to help figure out what happened to the rare manuscript, and stumbles into more than she bargained for.  Warning, the book has much of the dialog in a scotish brogue.  That is hard for some to follow.

Delaney was raised in Kansas and mustered a lot of courage to move her life for a nebulous job in Scotland.  She brings her outgoing personality to the store and grows on the reader.  Rosie is the mother hen of the bookstore and always has tiny dog Hector in tow. Hamlet is the other employee, a nineteen-year-old actor with a colored past and bright future. Edwin, who is  her wealthy, enigmatic, and mysterious boss. Tom is the bartender from across the street and the potential romantic interest who looks good in a kilt.  Elias is a cab-driver who, along with his wife, take her under their wing and even rent a place to her.  Then there is a cast of eccentric friends of Edwin's who comprize an auction club where they acquire rare items.

Edinburgh is detailed nicely from it's castles to its seedier side.  The plot was fine but the murder was so removed from Delaney that there seemed no real tension for her to get involved to the extent she does.  The story moved along well. although I would have liked a bit more personal investment from Delaney in order for the story to grab a hold of me.

I do have to say that the killer was a total surprise, and I didn't feel there were any clues dropped to suspect this person.  The killer reveal had some good tension.  The wrap-up resolved all the open threads of the story and left the path open for the next book.

This is a fun cozy mystery set in Scotland with a fresh heroine and great setup for many interesting adventures to come.

Rating: Good - A fun read for curling up by the fire or a beach read. 

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