When Delaney Nichols lost her job at a small museum in Kansas, she had no idea she would end up in Edinburgh, Scotland in the middle of a murder mystery. But, then, she had answered an ad for "a bold adventurer". Paige Shelton introduces the intrepid amateur sleuth in the first Scottish Bookshop mystery, The Cracked Spine. And, it's obvious from the first chapter that "We're not in Kansas anymore."
Delaney's degrees in literature and history, and the way "things", particularly bookish voices, speak to her, makes her the perfect candidate for a position at The Cracked Spine, a book and manuscript shop in Old Town Edinburgh. Her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, might not have been at the shop to greet her, but the rest of the work family, Hamlet and Rosie, welcomed "the American" eagerly. And, the people of Edinburgh were definitely welcoming, if the cab driver, Elias, and the sexy kilt-wearing pub owner, Tom, were examples.
Delaney doesn't even have a chance to settle in, though, before she's thrust into the middle of a couple adventures. First, there's a secret auction with a close group of Edwin's friends. The auction only leads to stories of unusual items, including one valuable treasure that was entrusted to Edwin's sister. But, when Edwin's sister is murdered, and her fellow staff members close ranks to keep a secret from the police, Delaney is intrigued enough to search for answers. With the avuncular cab driver, Elias, as an escort and protector, Delaney ventures into dangerous situations and dark corners of Edinburgh searching for a missing artifact and a killer.
Delaney Nichols is an engaging, thoughtful character. She's a candid narrator, with an appealing, conversational style of storytelling. Shelton has collected an intriguing supporting cast, leaving room for development and future adventures involving unusual treasures, and equally fascinating characters.
The atmospheric setting of Edinburgh, with the castle, the tours of historic sites, the stories of ghosts, the pubs and bookstores, is perfect for a mystery series. Shelton introduces the city through the eyes of a newcomer, as well as the eyes of a cab driver.
Welcome to The Cracked Spine, the Edinburgh home of adventure and a charming new sleuth, Delaney Nichols. Delaney and author Paige Shelton know what they're talking about when they say, "Adventure goes well with Scotland, but so does a little bit of wicked."
Paige Shelton's website is www.paigeshelton.com
The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton. Minotaur Books. 2016. ISBN 978125007488 (hardcover), 294p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping for a review.