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The Cracked Spine

(Scottish Bookshop Mystery #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  2,488 Ratings  ·  513 Reviews
Wanted: A bold adventurer who wants to travel the world from a comfortable and safe spot behind a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes. A humble book and rare manuscript shop seeks a keenly intelligent investigator to assist us in our search for things thought lost, and in our quest to return lost items to their rightful owners.

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ebook, 275 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Minotaur Books
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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…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)
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Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Vicky Marie
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
 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.
Lisa Ks Book Reviews
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
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
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
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.
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
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
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
*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
Barbara Rogers
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Delaney Nichols answers an unusual job ad for a bookstore, The Cracked Spine, in Scotland. They are looking for a bold adventurer for their bookshop that specializes in rare manuscripts and books. Although that description does not fit Delaney, she does love bookstores. After a long telephone conversation with the shop’s owner, Edwin MacAlister, Delaney is immediately hired. She packs her bags leaving her safe Kansas home and heading to another country to start a new life.

The Cracked Spine is ev
Mystereity Reviews
Delaney Nichols, recently let go from her museum job in Wichita, Kansas, answers a newspaper ad for a job at a bookshop in Edinburgh, Scotland and is hired on the spot. Soon after she arrives, her new boss's sister is murdered and a valuable, historic manuscript goes missing.

After setting aside my intense envy of Delaney for landing a dream job in a dream town (no mean feat) I settled into this book easily. I loved the Scottish locale (including the vernacular. I read all sorts of Tartan Noir a
Cathy Cole
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Paige Shelton takes many a book lover's dream-- moving to the UK and working in a bookshop-- and weaves it into a first-rate beginning of a new series. Through Delaney, she does an excellent job of portraying an American's culture shock in the ancient city of Edinburgh: driving on the "wrong" side of the road, the narrow streets, the incredibly old buildings everywhere, and the accents and friendliness of the Scottish people.

But the cultural differences aren't the only reason to devour Th
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delaney Nichols, tired of her rather mundane life in Kansas, sees a job listing for a position in Edinburgh, Scotland and picks up her life to move across the world in The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton. Leaving her job as curator of a museum in Kansas, Delaney thinks she is just taking up a job at a rare book shop, but when she arrives, she discovers that The Cracked Spine is much more than just a rare bookshop, but instead, her boss, Edwin MacAlister, collects highly valuable items besides boo ...more
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: cozy mystery fans
Recommended to Carlissa by: Netgalley
I enjoyed this story alot and most of the characters were delightful and well drawn. The descriptions of Edinburgh. Scotland were very detailed and makes me want to visit.

I do not care for the way some authors insist on writing with an accent; it makes it very hard to read. It would be alright in the audiobook to speak with a Scottish accent though. Some parts of the book were so repetitive that I felt like pulling out my hair, I got very tired of hearing that Delaney was from Kansas in America
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in cosy mystery with all the goodies!
How I miss Edinburgh! Paige Shelton's The Cracked Spine, A Scottish Bookshop Mystery, is set in Edinburgh, Scotland, and I truly enjoyed this mystery which reminded of my trips to Edinburgh and Scotland! Delaney Nicols from Wichita, Kansas spots an ad for an employee for a bookshop in Edinburgh which is also a 'purveyor of books'. A wild impulse has Delaney accepting the job, and she flies to Edinburgh to begin her new adventures! The book, it's characters, and the mystery are great fun. With De ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First book in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series. A good start....Delaney Nichols, from Kansas, takes a new job in Edinburgh, Scotland, working in a rare/collectible bookshop. She finds her new coworkers to be quite an unusual group and is quickly pulled into the mystery surrounding the death of her bosses' sister. I liked the character development, the start of a love interest, and the setting. I saw several reviews that found the Scottish dialog to be distracting, but I found that once I got ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, mystery
The best thing about this book is the location (Edinburgh, Scotland). Unfortunately the rest is disjointed and implausible, sometimes bordering on the ridiculous. Characters act without reasonable motivation and concepts are introduced—the protagonist's ability to "hear" books, a building with an eerie quietness, a ring of rare artifact buyers, a ghost—which are not developed sufficiently to account for how they are presented in the story. Readers who like loose ends tied up, or at least adequat ...more
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Cozy Mystery Corner : Scottish Bookshop (The Cracked Spine) by Paige Shelton 23 77 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  
  • Off Kilter (Scottish Highlands, #1)
  • Reading Up a Storm (Lighthouse Library Mystery #3)
  • A Wee Murder in My Shop (Scotshop Mystery, #1)
  • A Likely Story (Library Lover's Mystery, #6)
  • Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery #1)
  • Read to Death (A Read 'Em and Eat Mystery, #3)
  • Murder at Honeychurch Hall (Honeychurch Hall Mystery, #1)
  • Book Clubbed (Booktown Mystery, #8)
  • The Wolfe Widow (Book Collector Mystery #3)
  • Irish Stewed (Ethnic Eats Mystery #1)
  • Murder in the Mystery Suite (Book Retreat Mysteries, #1)
  • Assault and Pepper (A Spice Shop Mystery, #1)
  • Éclair and Present Danger (Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery, #1)
  • Caught Bread Handed (A Bakeshop Mystery, #4)
  • The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco  (Book Club Mystery #1)
  • Scandal in Skibbereen (County Cork, #2)
  • Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates (A Chocolate Covered Mystery #1)
  • Murder at the 42nd Street Library (42nd Street Library Mystery #1)

Other books in the series

Scottish Bookshop Mystery (4 books)
  • Of Books and Bagpipes (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #2)
  • Lost Books and Old Bones (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #3)
  • The Loch Ness Papers
“I often say that we should only be judged on two things: if we’re kind, and if we read books.” 6 likes
“Drugs turn people into the best actors. Ye cannae beat yerself up, Edwin.” 0 likes
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