QNPoohBear's Reviews > Of Books and Bagpipes

Of Books and Bagpipes by Paige Shelton
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really liked it
bookshelves: cozy-mystery

Delaney Nichols has settled into her new life in Edinburgh. She loved The Cracked Spine and her new Scottish family, the research job and the treasures. She especially likes her boyfriend Tom, despite his reputation as a heartbreaker. Delaney is excited to go on a mysterious errand for Edwin at an old castle. Scotland + castle + rare books? = YES! Her friend Elias isn't so sure and insists on accompanying her. Delaney feels Elias is a wee bit overprotective but when she stumbles across a dead body, she is happy to have her surrogate father nearby. The man was dressed in William Wallace historical reenactment clothing (not Mel Gibson kilt style, alas) and was supposed to be Delaney's contact person. When Delaney informs Edwin of what happened, his reaction is surprising. Delaney's curiosity gets the better of her when a mysterious man from Edwin's past returns from the dead. Her research uncovers surprising secrets about her boss's past and leads her to a society of William Wallace reenactors. Was one or both of these things connected to the death of the man?

Rare books, castles, mysteries leading to research in archives located in sub basements, bookish voices, a sweet romance, and a cute pup to comfort his human friends all make for a very pleasing mixture. I could not put the book down! I had to go to sleep but picked it up again this morning! The mystery was complicated and I never guessed who the killer was and why. It was a huge shock and surprise but it also kind of came out of nowhere. What I liked best about the book was the research trips Delaney took to the University of Edinburgh! The sub basements sound incredible! I would love to look through boxes of uncatalogued material and figure out the pieces of the puzzle. I also love Delaney's job and the curious objects she HAS to research (and get paid for it, can I have that job please?!). The Scottish setting is a lot of fun though I found the constant phonetic accents kind of annoying to read. I think the average reader knows what a Scottish accent sounds like. The author doesn't differentiate between different regional accents though and doesn't make Delaney's flat Kansas accent come out phonetically. Does Delaney say "ruff" for roof? I Googled it so it's easily available. Minor quibble though.

Delaney is a woman after my own heart. She's mature, intelligent and knows how to research from years spent in a library. She is smart in her sleuthing. Though she sometimes feels Elias is overprotective, she likes making him happy and is willing to have him or someone else along when she's investigating. She does some some weird things in this novel that seem a bit far fetched. Also, at the end, I was surprised neither she nor Elias thought about who may be lurking about! I suppose in a crisis, you act on instinct and not rational thought. Delaney is also pragmatic when it comes to her relationship with Tom. She's willing to accept inevitable heartbreak if she has to in order to enjoy his company now.

Elias is a kind old gentleman. He's a bit gruff at times but acts as Delaney's surrogate Dad. I love him nearly as much as she does but would not want Elias and Aggie to be so overprotective. How can Delaney be an independent adult and prove to everyone she can make it on her own thousands of miles away from home if they are always hovering, but they mean well. His love for Aggie is so sweet. They're a great, but mismatched couple.

The staff at The Cracked Spine are quirky and fun. Edwin has lots of secrets. His past strongly reminded me of Albus Dumbledore and The Deathly Hallows. It put cracks in his amiable facade. Like Dumbledore, Edwin is a complicated man who made some mistakes in his youth and is trying to protect those he cares for. I still like him a lot. Rosie seems gossipy but she is big hearted and kind. Hector is the most adorable little companion. I want to hold him! Hamlet isn't in the story much this time around. Tom, the hunky pub owner, is the strong, silent type but he accepts Delaney's curious mind and kind of understands her. His father Artair is awesome! I'd love to do research with him.

New characters spoil the plot but I will try to briefly discuss them. Edwin's old friend Gordon is complicated. I'm not sure Rosie's dislike of him is warranted but he's not a warm and fuzzy chap. All of Edwin's old friends have secrets and lies they want hidden. I understand that 50 years ago those secrets were shocking. America wasn't as progressive as Delaney might think it was; those secrets would shock Americans too. I felt sorry for everyone involved. I didn't like Clarissa much. She made difficult choices and then never really dealt with the consequences. I did feel rather sad for her though. Billy is rather an enigma, a puzzle that isn't fully solved. I don't think I liked him much. The other reenactors were kind of strange as well.

I am eager to read more about Delaney and her amazing job! I don't even need a mystery to go with it-just tell me what she's researching and what she discovers!
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Reading Progress

March 24, 2017 – Shelved
March 24, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
March 16, 2018 – Started Reading
March 17, 2018 – Shelved as: cozy-mystery
March 17, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Jane (new)

Jane PB, Love your enthusiastic review! I have the "Dangerous Type" series on my shelf, but I'm going to try and find, and start with, this one instead since I love all things Scottish!! I agree with your statement Scotland + castle + rare books? = YES!, and would only add a "+ men in kilts + bagpipes"!!


QNPoohBear Alas no kilts yet but there are bagpipes and hunky pub owners and men in William Wallace costumes!


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