The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton
Narrator: Carrington MacDuffie
Series: Scottish Bookshop Mystery #1
Published by Tantor Audio on March 29, 2016
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery
Length: 7 hrs 56 mins
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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.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.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.

Even though I had an eARC of The Cracked Spine, I listened to the audio version. I think it was a good choice. I could relax and listen to the words and accents. It was fun to listen to the Scottish lilt in the dialogue. I looked at my digital version, and I think actually reading the accent in print could have been a bit difficult. I would have almost had to read some portion aloud, at least at the beginning, just to get ahold of what was being said.

I love the setting- a bookstore in Scotland, and I enjoyed the plot, unless I think about it too much. Delaney’s off on an adventure that most of us can only dream off, and she’s a nice lady who I enjoyed spending time with. I didn’t quite understand her immediate jump into trying to figure out who killed a woman she had never met, the sister of her new boss who she barely knows, in a town she is unaccustomed to. The fact that she doesn’t know who she can actually trust, whose secrets are harmless and whose led to murder, doesn’t seem to bother her too much. She is a lot less wary than I think most women would be in this day and age, but at the same time, the narrator’s voice made her sound older than she seemed to be. It was a bit disconcerting. And, of course, she manages to put herself in a life-threatening situation, like the typical amateur female detective. Luckily, there’s a man around to save her.

I wanted to really love this one, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. While the eccentric characters and bookshop/warehouse were enchanting, the plot lacked believability for me. This is the first in a series though, so I might give the next one a chance. By then Delaney should be more knowledgeable about the people and places and maybe her involvement won’t seem so contrived.

About Paige Shelton

Paige studied journalism at Drake College in Iowa. She has only ever wanted to be a writer. She’s had good jobs, bad jobs, great bosses, and terrible bosses, but through it all she has only wanted to write. She’s grateful to have the opportunity now.
Paige and her husband currently live in Arizona and have a college-age son.