The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton is the first book in the NEW “Scottish Bookshop” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, March 2016

The Cracked SpineIn 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.

This book started a bit slow for me but picked up speed as the plot and subplots moved along. I was intrigued by the steps used in the telling of this story that had me delving into what happens next. The author did a good job in presenting the key elements in this mystery to keep me going in the directions needed to figure out who was behind the murder. Delaney is a smart heroine and I like her desire to help, especially being a newcomer. All the other characters that surround and interact with Delaney make this story a well-rounded one and a good read.

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