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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

The Cracked Spine (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #1)

The Cracked Spine - Paige Shelton

In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. 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.


First, the setting was the best part of this book; I've never actually been to Edinburgh (yet) but I felt like I was there.  Writing in dialect sometimes got on my nerves, but mostly I found it added to the characters and story rather than detracting from them.


The bookshop, The Cracked Spine, sounds amazing and I would have liked to have had the story spend more time inside the shop with its wonders (especially the 'warehouse'), than outside in dodgy neighbourhoods. 


The plot was certainly a mystery; I never had any inkling who murdered Jenny, but I'm not sure anyone could have known as the author pulled a Christie and didn't set the story up to be solved.  Lots of red herrings though.


The characters are what I struggled with here and having read Shelton's other work, I'm not surprised.  Her characters tend to be hit or miss with me and I feel like there's often just something missing that's keeping me from connecting with them and really caring about their outcomes.  She sometimes nails it, as she does with Jerome and Betts in her Country Fried Cooking school series and it's why I keep coming back.  I suspect here, part of my failure to connect with Delaney is her wide-eyed naivety;  she acts a bit like a 12 year old just orphaned rather than a well-educated woman who had a successful career in a museum before moving to The Cracked Spine.


I'll definitely read the next one, and I hope that we'll spend more time in the bookshop with the treasures there, and that Delaney sheds the innocent farm girl schtick.