Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cracked Spine (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Cracked Spine (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cracked Spine

(Scottish Bookshop Mystery #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  4,036 ratings  ·  742 reviews
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 th ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Minotaur Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cracked Spine, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Valerie Campbell Ackroyd Yes, I have been five times (I think). I have been to Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as the places that my "people" came from--Dundee, Dingwall up in R…moreYes, I have been five times (I think). I have been to Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as the places that my "people" came from--Dundee, Dingwall up in Ross & Cromarty, Cupar in Fife, Alyth in Perth. Actually, I recently learned that in the early 1800s some of my people lived in Glasgow so there we are.
We also rented a cottage in Aberfeldy for a week several years ago and toured many of the castles around there, Scone, Blair, Glamis, Stirling.... Then we toured the Border Abbeys. Oh, and I also did a walking holiday up in Mallaig and one of the islands of the small Hebrides, Eigg.
Living at the cottage in Aberfeldy and visiting the castles during the day was fantastic. Scone is amazing as is Glamis. We went to a play in Pitlochry that was one of the best "smallish" productions I had ever seen. Walking the cemeteries where my ancestors are buried was indescribable.
I highly recommend a walking holiday in Scotland as well. The weather is usually wet but there is nothing as soul restoring as tramping along a loch and later drying out in front of a fire. The Scots are lovely people--they don't overwhelm you and they are very direct but when we were stranded in Scotland during 9-11 they couldn't have been kinder. A complete stranger put us up for two nights and took us around Edinburgh to get our minds off the terrible events a bit. She took us to a special service in St. Giles Cathedral where different community leaders--and a U.S. embassy official--spoke. And the car rental place in Glasgow didn't charge us for the extra days' rental that we needed because of the tragedy.
All in all, I feel totally at home in Scotland even when I have to listen hard to understand some accents. They DO differ depending on which area of Scotland your are in. The Edinburgh accent is much easier to understand than the Glaswegian!!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,036 ratings  ·  742 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Cracked Spine (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #1)
Primrose Jess
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
A mystery set in Edinburgh, a bucket list city for me, in a bookshop with a young American from Kansas as our sleuth. What could go wrong?
For starters, it isn't easily lumped into the "cozy" mystery genre, in my opinion. It has a cute token small dog (every cozy mystery has some small animal involved), a batty older well meaning secondary woman, the benefactor characters for the main character, and its main character embarking on some sort of personal journey or quest. All of which are pretty
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: cozy mystery fans
Recommended to TL by: goodreads giveaway
I received this via Goodreads First Reads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review.


A lovely cozy mystery that felt mismatched to me.... some of the motivations seemed odd/off to me and I never felt like I got to know any of the characters very well. We spend some time with them and I did love the idea of these people, but it felt like I was being kept at a distance.

Delaney's motives for taking the job I understood but never bought completely, but who hasn't dreamed of running off (so to
Susan Johnson
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Delaney Nicholas takes a job at the Cracked Spine Bookshop in Edinburgh after losing her job at a museum in Wichita, Kansas. She packs her bags and is on her way almost immediately. She has no plans or information but just the possibility of an exciting adventure.

As with many cozy mysteries, believability often takes a back seat in the story. The cab driver at the airport befriends her and rents her a small cottage that local residents would give their eyeteeth for. Her fellow employees are ec
I'm not really a fan of cozies, and much less those written by Americans and set in Scotland and Ireland. It's a sales gimmick, because writers know American readers like books set in those places. This author decided to write a series set in Scotland, knowing next to nothing about the country. Then she made one trip there. As much as this sets this book up to be unsatisfactory, it was the plot and character development that did it in.

The plot was flimsy and hard to follow. A wealthy antiquarian
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am in awe of Delaney Nichols. She answers an unusual ad and within days is leaving Kansas behind and is off to Edinburgh, Scotland and The Cracked Spine. The Cracked Spine is an “humble book and rare manuscript shop”. Truly though it is an amazing place full of nooks, secret spaces, library ladders and books, so many wonderful books.

Edwin MacAlister owns the place and the man responsible for hiring “Delaney from Kansas in America”. He also employs young Hamlet, an aspiring a
Oct 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People with a lot of patience for nonsense.
Recommended to Becki by: Netgalley
I received a copy of The Cracked Spine from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It took me less than two days to finish reading it on my Kindle, and I've reviewed it, in brief, on my blog. I'm hoping to make this review somewhat more thorough for the Goodreads crowd.

This book bothered me for several reasons. I'm going to break this review down into sections to make it easier to read and engage with (for anyone who's interested).

Why does Delany hear voices? Delaney (the protagonist of
Chatting About
Are you ready to be swept into an adventure abroad that will invigorate your imagination? Open this book and enter a far-away land with Delaney Nichols as she moves from Kansas to Scotland taking a job at The Cracked Spine--a rare book and manuscript shop located in Edinburgh.

Welcomed by a friendly cab driver, Elias; then by two shop employees, Hamlet and Rosie, who's always accompanied by her cute Yorkie, Hector; Delaney's new life has begun. She has a quirky 'talent' that helps her when she's
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quite enjoyed the audio book of this first in series.
Miranda Reads
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok

Oops, I did it again...aka here's another tierlist video ranking all my January Books. Now that you know where this one stands, check out the video to see the rest!

The Written Review:

I often say that we should only be judged on two things: if we’re kind, and if we read books.”
Delaney made the change of a lifetime - she picked herself up from Kansas and plopped herself back down in Edinburgh, Scotland.

She was hired, sight unseen, to work at the Cracked Spine - a rare
Vicky Marie
Jan 05, 2016 marked it as dnf
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
DNF at 50%

Got halfway through before deciding not to continue. I thought some things-the premise, setting, mystery, secondary characters-were fine. My problem was Delaney and her infinite questions. Boy does she ask SO MANY QUESTIONS. Not just for info on the murder, but for everything. It was like every conversation she had with someone was more of an interrogation. It was this characteristic that was the basis for solving Jenny's murder. I prefer if the protagonist has an actual reason to take
Delaney Nichols from Kansas (in America) packs up everything and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland when she loses her museum job due to budget cuts. Delaney takes a job at a bookstore-not just any bookstore- but one with a desk that has seen kings and queens and paupers and princes! The adventure is greater than any she's ever had- unless you count adventures lost in the pages of books. Delaney is a reader. Not just any reader, a discerning reader who hears the voices of "bookish" people inside her h ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
3 ½ stars
This was an intriguing start to this cozy mystery series. The main character aside from being so likable also has a (view spoiler)
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
This was a little too serious to be a bonafide cozy mystery, and it was too slow moving. The lead character has an interesting ability. I would have liked the author to explore that more. I loved the view of modern-day Edinburgh and the intriguing secondary characters.

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was eager to read The Cracked Spine as it is the start of a new cozy series by Paige Shelton. I enjoy the author's other series. I imagine many readers have wondered what it would be like to start a new life in a new area doing a job that intrigues them. In the Cracked Spine, we can go on an armchair adventure with Delaney without leaving home.

After being downsized from her job in a Kansas museum, Delaney leaps at the opportunity of applying for a job at a book store in Edinburgh Scotland. She
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit disappointed in this one. It was a cozy mystery set in a bookshop in Scotland... How was there any way this could go wrong? Let me summarize.

Delaney is that American. She's pushy and inconsiderate and is not put off by making others uncomfortable. Everyone in Scotland was too polite. I just wanted someone, anyone, to tell her to mind her own flippin' business.

Speaking of minding one's business, why did Delaney feel the need to solve this murder? She'd been in Scotland for about 24 h
Lisa Ks Book Reviews
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A rare tome you’ll truly treasure!

THE CRACKED SPINE is one of the most delightful mysteries I’ve read in 2015. I finished it on Dec. 31, and I can’t think of a better way to finish out the year.

I was immediately enamored with the characters in this captivating tale. Protagonist, Delaney Nichols is one of my new cozy heroes. Along with her new “family” Edwin, Hamlet, Rosie, Tom, and more, I can’t remember tie better spent with fictional friends.

Author Paige Shelton has brought to her new serie
Jan 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
As an American living in Edinburgh this book got a few things wrong or events that they make normal would almost 100% never happen....
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
From the cover, I was expecting a typical cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth chasing down the clues and eventually solving the crime. What I got was an amateur sleuth finding pretty much only one clue, asking a few questions and miraculously solving the crime. Nothing really flowed right.

I don't buy the motivation behind Delaney leaving the US for Scotland, the club Edwin is a part of seems like it should be a bigger part of the story but doesn't amount to much, Rosie witnessing an accident an
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Minotaur and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.*

A new series from a well established author, The Cracked Spine was a wonderful series debut filled with suspense, mystery, and laugh out loud moments.

The entire premise of this story is entertaining: getting fired ad then answering an add to go work in a bookstore halfway around the world? That may sound crazy to some, but that’s
Dawn Michelle
Oooooo, THIS is a going to be a good series!!!! SO many red herrings. SO many interesting characters. A charming pub owner who is devilishly handsome AND wear kilts!!! Yes please. ;-) AND it is a bookshop. In Scotland. Yes. Freaking. Please.

I really like Delaney as a MC; she is fun and hilarious and has just enough small town in her to make you really like her. Kansas is not somewhere I'd pick to live [and am grateful that isn't where my parent's decided we all should live - though every time s
Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review)
Delaney has upped sticks from Kansas after a phone interview and she has ended up in Edinburgh, on her arrival she is taken under the wing of the taxi driver (and his wife) which helps as the job is odd! There are two other members of staff Rosie (and her small dog Hector) and Hamlet (real name unknown) as well as Edwin her boss, people seem to pick when they want to work during the day and if they want to go off and do something different (like visit a museum or stage play!) and Delaney has no ...more
A nice debut. It also had a very serious feel for a cozy mystery. I expected it to be a little lighter, kind of like Hamish Macbeth except with books.

I'm not sure about the detective/central character. I just didn't feel her like other MCs in other cozies. However, this was the first in the series and the mystery plot was decent, so I'm willing to give book #2 a try.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty good mystery series about an American archivist who moves to Edinburgh to work in a very unusual bookstore. I'm having a bit of trouble suspending my disbelief at the amateur sleuth angle in this series and am concerned about spraining an eyeball from all the eye rolling I've been doing.
Carla Johnson-Hicks
After reading book #3 in this series, I wanted to go back and read the first two to find out what I had missed. I am glad I did, as I enjoyed this story very much. Delaney Nichols has lost her job in Kansas, so applies for a job and gets it working in a rare bookstore in Edinburgh Scotland. Soon after arriving, her new boss's sister is killed. There is also a missing First Folio of Shakespeare's work. It seems these are probably connected and both her boss or a fellow employee are being question ...more
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Cracked Spine is the first book in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series.

Paige Shelton has another wonderful series started with A Cracked Spine.

Delaney Nichols has lost her job and she is open for an adventure at this time in her life. When she spots an advertisement for a bookstore in Edinburgh, Scotland, she feels this is the answer to her dreams and she soon finds herself in Edinburgh. Delany has the power to have books talk to her and knows she will fit in at the bookstore.

Arriving in Ed
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from the author, for a review. As my friends know, don't ask me if you don't want the truth. I was a little nervous, as this story takes place in Scotland. I would love to visit Scotland, but I have had a bad experience in the past with a story that took place in another country. That particular book, had the whole text in their language with an English accent. By the third chapter, I had to put the book down and give up. It was more like an educational experience that faile ...more
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like all if the main character, very likable. I love the uniqueness of the bookshop... Plus, it all goes down in Scotland! What's not to love?

Content warnings: Seems like there is a little bit of language in the book. A drug addict is one of the characters. And there is a romantic attraction brewing for Delaney. Oh, and also Delaney hears "voices" coming from the books -- it's kind of like her "superpower"...

Overall though I'm pretty pleased with the book. I'll give book #2 a whirl.

Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scotland, a bookstore, a small dog, a handsome pub owner, and a murder. What more could you possibly want in a book? This is a great escapist read. It was a good introduction to the cozy mystery genre for me as well. Highly recommend reading this when you need to forget the mundanities of life for a bit.
Mar 12, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Unlike the last book I DNF'd, this book is not hateful, it just isn't for me. This is everything I should like (spunky woman goes to work in a Scottish bookshop and solves crime!). There's just something about the tone that doesn't work, something about the main character's voice. The attempts at the Scottish accent probably don't help. I picked it up twice, and managed to get through a chapter each time before putting it down feeling vaguely annoyed. I think it's more just a matter of personal ...more
Barbara Rogers
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: iblog, mystery
Series: Sottish Bookshop Mystery #1
Publication Date: 3/29/16

Wonderful first book in the series. I started with the third book and loved it so much that I decided to go back to the first book in the series and read it in order. I looked at the release dates so far and they seem to be coming out about one per year. The characters are engaging, relatable and just downright likable. I especially like the budding romance between Delaney and Tom. I love mysteries, but they must have a romance as well.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Read Scotland: The Cracked Spine: Spoiler Thread 3 18 Jun 27, 2019 10:13PM  
Read Scotland: May/June: The Cracked Spine 10 20 Jun 27, 2019 10:12PM  
Cozy Mystery Corner : Scottish Bookshop (The Cracked Spine) by Paige Shelton 23 80 Feb 27, 2018 06:57AM  
Minotaur Book Club: First Editions and Rare Books 2 8 Mar 31, 2017 01:24PM  
Minotaur Book Club: The Cracked Spine! 3 8 Mar 31, 2017 12:55PM  
Minotaur Book Club: FEB/MARCH READ: The Cracked Spine 1 9 Feb 16, 2017 01:25PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Murder in the Storybook Cottage (Book Retreat Mysteries #6)
  • Buried in a Bog (County Cork, #1)
  • Crime and Poetry (Magical Bookshop, #1)
  • Buried to the Brim (Hat Shop Mystery, #6)
  • Murders and Metaphors (Magical Bookshop, #3)
  • The Grim Reader (Bibliophile Mystery, #14)
  • Murder in the Reading Room
  • By Book or By Crook (Lighthouse Library Mystery #1)
  • Booked for Trouble (Lighthouse Library Mystery #2)
  • Prose and Cons (Magical Bookshop, #2)
  • A Turn for the Bad (County Cork, #4)
  • Scandal in Skibbereen (County Cork, #2)
  • The Book of Candlelight (Secret, Book, & Scone Society, #3)
  • An Early Wake (County Cork, #3)
  • Dressed to Kilt (Scottish Highlands, #3)
  • The Whispered Word (Secret, Book, & Scone Society, #2)
  • Murder by the Book (Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery, #1)
  • Murder in the Mystery Suite (Book Retreat Mysteries, #1)
See similar books…

Other books in the series

Scottish Bookshop Mystery (6 books)
  • Of Books and Bagpipes (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #2)
  • Lost Books and Old Bones (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #3)
  • The Loch Ness Papers (Scottish Bookshop Mystery #4)
  • The Stolen Letter (Scottish Bookshop Mystery #5)
  • Deadly Editions (Scottish Bookshop Mystery)

News & Interviews

Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
65 likes · 30 comments
“I often say that we should only be judged on two things: if we’re kind, and if we read books.” 9 likes
“Tom lived by the sea. In a small blue house that was from another time. It was squeaky and drafty and held one of my favorite places in the entire world: a big old chair by a front window and a fireplace, from which could be seen a view of the North Sea while one lounged, under a quilt preferably, and read book after book.” 1 likes
More quotes…