Kansas girl, Delaney Nichols, decides it’s time for a change and accepts a long-distance job in a bookshop in Edinburgh, Scotland by way of a phone interview. All she knows is that it’s time for a personal change and that the work … whatever it is … sounds exciting.
The book shop, The Cracked Spine, is run by Edwin MacAlister. He’s a bit mysterious and he apparently has his hands in a variety of book collecting and book dealing. In fact, he has an entire space kept under lock and key for some of his most precious items. His mysteriousness around his actions has Delany wondering if some of his work might be less than proper or legal.
When Edwin’s sister, who has had a troubled life, is murdered, Delany takes it on herself to investigate and help he new boss get some closure. But investigating a murder can be dangerous.
I’m typically not a fan of cozy mysteries. In ‘cozies,’ things tend to happen by convenience … a lot. And this book is no exception, starting with the very idea of packing up and moving to Scotland essentially on a whim, to deciding to investigate a murder in a foreign country with absolutely no background or experience in in it prior.
But despite generally not being a fan of cozies, I quite enjoyed this book. Of course the location helped (what avid reader wouldn’t want to read a mystery set in an old book store?), but the characters are what makes this a delightful read.
Delaney is a bit of a Pollyanna/Mary Tyler Moore character. Wide-eyed and eager. In some ways she’s the most boring of all the characters, but she is the ‘straight’ character to all the wonderful, almost Dickensian, Scots.
The writing is quick and smooth, giving the characters a chance to shine. The mystery is pretty classic for a cozy – although a murder (even an off the page murder) is pretty hard for a cozy.
While I enjoyed the book, and I would gladly read any other books in the series, I am not actively going out and looking for another Scottish Bookshop Mystery.
Looking for a good book? The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton is a fun, fast cozy mystery. If you like cozies, I’d recommend this first book in a series. If you aren’t sure, or if you don’t like cozy mysteries, this won’t change your mind.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Cracked Spine
author: Paige Shelton
series: Scottish Bookshop Mystery #1
publisher: Minotaur Books
hardcover, 304 pages