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The Broken Spine

(Beloved Bookroom Mystery #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  95 reviews
The first in an exciting new series featuring Trudell Becket, a spunky librarian who will stop at nothing to save her beloved books and catch a killer!

Trudell Becket finds herself in a bind when her library is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless 'technological center'. A library with no books breaks Trudell's book-loving heart and she decides to rescue hundreds of belo
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 19th 2021 by Berkley Books
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  190 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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As a librarian for 20+ years, I couldn't resist the premise of this book. A library is discarding all of its books and going totally electronic and Tru, the assistant librarian, wants to rescue the books from being sent to a landfill. Then there is a murder in the building, and she is a suspect, despite it being obvious that she had nothing to do with the crime. Sadly, for me this book was filled with unlikable characters and a lame mystery plot--very disappointed, Thanks to the publisher and Ne ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Trudell Becket is shocked when she hears that the library where she works is going to become a bookless technology center -- digital only. In a panic to save what books she can, she enlists the help of some fellow employees to hide a stash of books in a hidden room in the library's basement. When the man responsible for the change is the library, no less....Trudell is a suspect. She and her secret bookroom crew have to do some amateur investigating to keep Trudell out of trouble!

I lo
Mark Baker
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021, mystery
Tru Beckett is the assistant librarian in her small town. She’s always loved books, so when the town manager comes up with a plan to turn the library into a bookless “technology center,” she does the only thing she can think to do. She saves as many books as she can to set up in a secret bookroom in the library’s basement. She and her friends are almost done with their book rescue mission when the town manager is murdered, killed under a shelf of DVDs in the main library. The police are looking ...more
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
The small town of Cypress, South Carolina is getting a major overhaul of their library. In fact, they are removing all print books and turning it into a "bookless" library, complete with all the current technology services. Assistant Librarian, Trudell “Tru” Becket, is not happy with this turn of events. She’s not about to let this travesty happen.

As the print books are sent to a landfill, Tru teams up with a couple of friends to redirect the books to the library’s basement, where Tru sets up a
Peggy R
The premise for this book sounded so promising and I was really looking forward to reading this first book in a new series by author Dorothy St. James. Unfortunately, this book just wasn't my cup of tea. I found it hard to engage with most of the characters. I thought that parts of the mystery were over the top and a bit unbelievable. The investigators seemed to jump to conclusions on the simplest of circumstantial evidence. I don't usually mind if the main character has a romance in a cozy myst ...more
Lisa Morin
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a first in a new series, this book is pretty good. The premise of a book less library seems out of this world, but in Cypress, that’s exactly what happens.
As many folks in this town love the library, they also are interested in seeing what new technologies are available. None of this sits well with the librarians, and when one of them get tangled up in a murder investigation, it literally takes a village to set things right again.
I did struggle with parts of the book, I felt they dragged on,
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2021
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Like me, Trudell Becket loves books. Being a librarian brings her so much joy. But the Cypress city manager is on a mission to bring tech companies to town so he has decided the way to do that is to make everything computerized and digital. His first major project is to make the library completely digital and send all the print books to the landfill. Trudell just can’t accept that so she comes up with a plan to rescue as many books as she can. She pitches her idea to her frien
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-mystery
When the town manager of Cypress, South Carolina plans to turn the library into a bookless "technology center" to draw tech companies to Cypress which will become the "Silicon Valley of the South," Trudell Becket's heart breaks! A bookless library? The horror! It's not just the books she loves like old friends but the library itself. It's been her home, her place of refuge, and her job. The mayor is all for getting rid of the moldy books and sending them to the landfill. He supports his friend's ...more
Karen Hollins-Stallman
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"The Broken Spine" the first instalment in the "A Beloved Bookroom" Mystery series by Dorothy St. James . OMG what a great start to a wonderful cozy mystery series! I just loved this book.

I really enjoyed this story, there was humor, murder and a cat. What’s not to like! I read almost in one sitting but finally succumbed to sleep with only a few chapters left.

The mystery moved at a good pace, was interesting and I thought well plotted. I loved the characters living in Cypress South Carolina esp
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
I had never heard of a bookless library until this book and there was a mention of one in Texas. I had to look it up and it is located in San Antonio and is called BiblioTech. Apparently, there are actual locations but there doesn't seem to be any books and it is much like how the library in Cypress will be after the conversion, you can borrow a tablet or use a computer to access the information. 

On to this book. This is the first in a new series and it starts off with a bang when the small town
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Cozy Mystery
*Rating* 3.5


The Broken Spine is the first installment in author Dorothy St. James Beloved Bookroom Mystery series. Trudell Beckett of Cypress, South Carolina, is a book loving assistant librarian who loves her job at the library among the books, or "friends," as she likes to refer to them. But Mayor Goodvale and town manager Duggar Hargrove and new Library IT tech Anne Lowery have a new plan to push their poor town into the future. They want to cre
The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James has Trudell Becket, assistant librarian, distraught that her beloved library in Cypress, South Carolina is becoming bookless. The books are the heart of the library. The library and its books helped Trudell get through some difficult times growing up. When Trudell learns that the town manager, Duggar Hargrove is having the books tossed into the landfill, she comes up with a plan. Trudell along with a couple of trusted friends are transporting books into the ...more
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
“Librarians were superheroes dressed in plain clothes.”

The Broken Spine is the first book I’ve read by Dorothy St. James (to my recollection) but I immediately fell in love with her writing voice and specifically the 1st person narrative for Tru. It was fun and lighthearted in tone – which is exactly what I needed after reading some intense suspense novels lately. Not to mention Tru is a character after my own bookish heart – with her library going high-tech (aka ‘no more print books’), she’s hi
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed-2021
The Broken Spine earns 5/5 Shhh-es...Exciting Entertainment!

Is there anything worse than finding out your neighborhood library is going high-tech? What do you do when you discover all those “sensory fulfilling” paper and ink, hard and soft, well-worn or sparkling new favorites will be discarded? If you are an assistant librarian Trudell Becket, you decide to rescue those classics and contemporary books and set up an “old-school” library in the basement for only the most discerning who can keep h
This first instalment in a new series by mystery writer Dorothy St. James sees assistant librarian Trudell (Tru) Becket at sixes and sevens when a decision is made to modernise her beloved library in Cypress, South Carolina. Instead of borrowing physical books, patrons will be downloading them or borrowing tablets containing pre-downloaded titles. This is too much for Trudell who cannot bear the thought of all those paper versions of classics being consigned to landfill or resold so takes it upo ...more
Ashley Cate
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Broken Spine is the first book in a new series by author Dorothy St. James. The premise for this book caught my attention immediately when I first heard it and it went straight to the top of my to read list. The idea of a public library being converted to a book less, all digital library just hurts my soul. I loved the thought of a librarian saving books destined for the landfill and opening up a secret library in the existing library’s basement.

Trudell “Tru” Beckett is the librarian that s
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it
This small town mystery centers on the local library being threatened with losing all its books in favour of a digital-only revolution.

Our heroine – and the books’/readers’ – is mild-mannered library assistant Trudell. She’s trying to capture a street cat and secretly saving books from the soon-to-be-dumpstered collection when the chief architect of the revolution comes down with a crash. There are several suspects handy, plus the cat, and some suspicious police officers.

This is a fast read, qu
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely Wonderful!!!!!
Wow, a library without books! I couldn’t believe it until I learned the premise behind this first in a new series has actually been tried. The Broken Spine is inviting, from the gorgeous cover with the distinctively marked cat and secret room to the mystery itself. I felt a connection with Tru, the assistant librarian, who has loved books most of her life. The characters come to life through their actions and conversations.

The town manager, Duggar, and the mayor, Marvin, are bringing the histori
Mary Good
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ons
Shelves: eng-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Cozy Review
Feb 04, 2021 rated it liked it
The Broken Spine has some interesting moments, is written by a seasoned veteran, and has a great plot. Unfortunately, it also has a main character that isn’t very likable, has anger issues, and is on the childish side. The fact that she wants to save print books at the library she works for is terrific, but no one, no matter how much they love books, would risk going to prison for murder if they had an alibi they could prove. This is the main drawback in this story for me, other than Tru herself ...more
Coralee Hicks
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
Every new Cozy Mystery starts with an idea. A protagonist who is clever, likeable and most likely lives in a small town. Her friends, it is almost certain the protagonist is a woman, will be quirky..
The dialogue will be both loving and filled with banter. Our protagonist will have a pet, most often these days it will be a cat. All this is true with Dorothy St. James new series " Beloved Bookroom Mystery". The City Government of Cypress wants to revitalize the town. They have big plans, make Cyp
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, own
Trudell loves her job at the library among the books, or "friends," as she likes to refer to them. But the mayor and the town manager have a new plan to push their poor town into the future. They want to create a modern, bookless library. They plan on removing all the books and purchasing tablets for the patrons to check out. They'll have a cafe, a maker space with 3D printers and such, as well as recording studios. But the books have to go. Not many other people are happy about this and Trudell ...more
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
The town library in Cypress is undergoing a change no library should suffer. The town’s aggressive town manager, Duggar Hargrove, has announced the library is going high tech. Computers and tablets are in and physical books are out. He hopes the change will bring high tech businesses to the area, revitalizing the economy. Anne Lowery, the newly hired technology specialist, is in charge of the renovation.
Not everyone is happy with the changes. Trudell Beckett, assistant librarian, (and the main
Diane Hernandez
The Broken Spine is the start of a new cozy mystery series about a librarian.

Whoever has heard of a bookless library? Not me. But apparently the first one opened in real life in 2014. Trudell is the assistant librarian at a small rural southern library. A new town manager decides to remodel Trudell’s library into a soulless bookless library. Worse, he is throwing away all the library’s books to make room for all the computers and tablets. When the man is found dead in the library crushed by a sh
Mar 03, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mysteries, dnf
I might have liked this if I hadn’t been a librarian for three or four decades. The premise of a book less library is now at least two decades old. The primacy of books and librarians and others stealthily saving old books in a secret location...well I just couldn’t. It is well written and I liked the characters... it is the portrayal of libraries, librarians, etc. omigods...typing catalog cards...clutching pearls...not knowing about databases and maker spaces...and the role of a community libra ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This is the first book in a new series. The library in Cypress is going through a change and a challenge. A book less library is what the mayor and town manager have pushed. A modern library with no books! Seriously!?
People are not happy with the change, especially Trudell who has a plan to save some of the books. She takes them to the basement to start a secret library.
I could relate to not being able to hold a book to read, and not exactly being a tech person would be very unhappy to have a b
Megan W. (pnwbookworm)
Jan 26, 2021 marked it as to-read
I loved the premise of this book - beloved library destroyed to make way for something much more technologically advanced. Unfortunately I could not get into this book and I tried several times. The book was really slow in parts and there was a lot of information with very little action. Overall I just didn't love the characters and this one didn't hold my attention. ...more
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book starts out like a nightmare with a town getting rid of all the books in the library and making it all computers. To make it worse the books aren’t being donated they are being sent to the landfill. The town manager is killed and the librarian Tru might be a suspect so she sets out to find out who did it.
Kathie Price
Feb 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Lame plot. But it was about a library and a cat. Those brought it up to a 3.
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Pseudonym for author Dorothy McFalls

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, tiny little dog and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban

Other books in the series

Beloved Bookroom Mystery (2 books)
  • A Perfect Bind (Beloved Bookroom Mystery #2)

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