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The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton
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17021103,706 (3.28)20



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Normally I like cozy mysteries when I'm looking for a quick, light read, but this was a slog. The story had a lot of potential. The blurb sounded interesting and quirky. Ultimately, however, the author failed to deliver. This read a lot like a first draft. Everything was underdeveloped. It seems like Shelton had a lot of ideas, but didn't know what to do with them. What seemed like mysterious elements at the beginning-Delaney's "bookish voices," the "dark side" of the book shop, the strange auction she attends-don't actually add anything to the story. Even the murder mystery feels like an afterthought at times. Delaney decides to start investigating the murder almost as soon as she hears about it, though it's never really clear what her motivation is. This is one of many things Delaney does that lacks any sense of purpose, something made more noticeable by her frequently thinking "I don't know what made me do that." Most of the focus of the book is less on the mystery and more on the novelty of Scotland as seen through Delaney's eyes. She makes trips to several tourist spots as part of her sleuthing, but they don't contribute anything to her efforts and seem more like the author's attempts to wedge in as many Edinburgh landmarks as possible. And Shelton wants to make it very clear that the book is set in Scotland. In addition to Delaney commenting on every difference she sees between America and Scotland-some of them repeatedly-the author seems to have confused dialect with accent. Every single piece of dialogue with a Scottish character is filled with phonetic spellings. The "taes" and "aboots" wear thin fast, especially since Delaney describes every accent and comments on the degree to which she can understand it. Since all but two characters are Scottish, this happens a lot. With all of this to wade through, I really didn't care who the villain was by the time I got to the end. Overall, this book needed a few more revisions and a more critical editor. ( )
  jhofer2 | Nov 7, 2018 |
Abandoned at 6%
  natcontrary | May 21, 2018 |
Pretty far-fetched. Delaney, a rare books expert who hails from Kansas, had just arrived in Scotland a matter of hours when she was investigating the murder of her new boss's sister, someone she had never met. More surprising was that not one person told her to bugger off with her nosy questions. My version was an audiobook read with an excruciating Scottish accent. And someone should tell Shelton that it's Scotch whisky, never Scottish. She made a point of using the local terms for everything else except this one. Thin plot and poor characters in what appeared to be a promising cosy mystery. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Feb 17, 2018 |
Not a series I'd continue. It seemed like a good idea to try another cosy mystery and of course it's all the more fun when it has to do with books/bookshops/reading. I read about this book recently somewhere and it finally came through at the library. Unfortunately it doesn't hold up.
Delaney has packed her bags and moved to Scotland to work at The Cracked Spine, a bookstore. She meets her co-workers, adjusts to her new life and then ends up involved in a mystery. Her boss's sister is murdered and a valuable folio of Shakespearean plays goes missing. It sounded like a great set-up but as other reviews note it's a bad execution.
Overall the writing was sub-par, the plot thin, and the characters not particularly memorable. Delaney ends up in a romance (which was predictable) and not particularly interesting. And although I haven't been to Scotland, I couldn't help but feel suspicious as to whether or not the author was stereotyping Scottish people. Maybe this is something that would improve as the series goes on in order to give the main character some character development but I won't be checking out the rest of the series to find out.
Would recommend this as a library borrow. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
Very slow and quite dull. Delaney had just arrived in Scotland and I didn't understand why she took it upon herself to interrogate people and try to solve the murder of a person she had never met. I plodded along with this book to finish it but I won't be reading any more of the series. I've read one other book by the same author and also found it quite mundane.

Slow.There are better cosy mysteries out there. ( )
1 vote Inishowen_Cailin | Dec 29, 2017 |
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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. 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"--… (more)

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