Rating:

cracked spine book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

While I requested The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton because I thought it looked good, it surprised me by being much more enjoyable than I expected. Delaney Nichols is our protagonist and she has recently been laid off from her job at the museum in Wichita Kansas. She decides to to accept an offer in Edinburgh, Scotland, at a little book shop called The Cracked Spine.

At the airport, while selecting a taxi to take her to the hotel, Delaney meets and befriends Elias. Elias reminds her of a kindly uncle back in the states. And the great thing is, he turns out to be almost like her guardian angel. He offers to show her around Edinburgh though he discovers that trying to ‘help’ her might just be getting him in trouble.

Delaney meets all her new co-workers and starts to learn what her job will actually entail. There is Edwin, the owner; Rosie the old lady who carries her little dog with her everywhere; and Hamlet, the young man, going to school and work and aspiring to be a Shakespearean actor. She hasn’t been given full instructions yet, but she does know she’ll be doing a bit of cataloging. Then the owner’s sister is brutally murdered. Delaney has never met her but the more she learns, the more curious she becomes and the more she sticks her nose into the mystery at hand.

There are a lot of clues and some misdirection. Since Delaney has just met the owners and her co-workers, she wants to believe they are all innocent, but she can’t be sure. So when she finds clues, she is not always sure who to trust with them.

I really enjoyed this book and definitely need to look into some of the author’s other works. I am certainly going to be on the lookout for the second book in this series. Delaney and the crew are an eclectic bunch and really a whole lot of fun. This book felt more like just a taste, a warm up for great stories to come. I highly recommend it for cozy mystery lovers!


Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Minotaur Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.