Happy book birthday to THE CRACKED SPINE by Paige Shelton! This is the first book in the new Scottish Bookshop Mystery. Available now at all major book retailers.
Rating: 5/5 stars!
In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn’t know much about what she’s gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she’ll be working with “a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes,” and Delaney can’t wait to get started.
When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue — and it doesn’t hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt.
But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact — a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays — goes missing, and Edwin’s sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it’s connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself.
My honest review:
The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton is a fantastic cozy mystery. From the first page I was drawn into the small town, big heart feel of Edinburgh. I’ll admit that I have a huge obsession with novels, but especially mysteries, set in the British Isles. I love the landscape, the accents, the characters, the local slang, and the pubs. Paige Shelton does a fantastic job painting the setting for this novel. I could almost smell the dewey grass and pipe smoke wafting in off the cobblestoned street.
The characters are just as unique and original as the setting. The first character you meet is Elias the cabbie, and you know from this immediate encounter that Delaney is going to fit in just right in Edinburgh. There is a decent amount of characters in the novel, especially as the mystery progresses. I never had any issues keep each character straight. From Rosie and her dog Hector to Hamlet, Edwin, Aggie, and Tom each person felt genuine and at times very real. I could easily imagine giving Hector a good ear scratch or catching Tom about town in his kilt. I found myself laughing along with the many anecdotes that Delaney encounters. I did feel like I barely got to know most of the secondary characters. This mystery mainly involved Edwin, Delaney, and Hamlet so I hope to find out more about the other characters in later novels.
I found this cozy novel to be a bit more suspenseful than is the norm in cozies. The murder was multi-faceted and the true killer was a surprise at the end. Although the suspense was high for most of the novel, it was a book I enjoyed reading late into the night with no fears of nightmares or disturbed sleep. The perfect whodunit!
I loved every second that I was absorbed into The Cracked Spine. This is a perfect cozy-yet-suspenseful mystery. The characters were realistic and genuine, the setting is gorgeous, and the mystery kept me guessing until the very end. I guarantee that this will be one of my top cozy mysteries of 2016!
Find Paige Shelton at the links below ∇
A huge THANK YOU to Minotaur Books for sending me an early copy of this novel!