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Summary

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.

When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at The Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a 19-year-old thespian with a colored past and a bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected.

But before she can settle in to her new life, a precious artifact - a previously undiscovered first folio of Shakespeare's plays - goes missing, and Edwin's sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio and how it's connected to the tragic death - all without getting harmed herself.

©2016 Paige Shelton-Ferrell (P)2016 Tantor

Critic reviews

"As warm and inviting as a cup of tea and a serving of fresh-from-the-oven shortbread." (Ellery Adams, author of Writing All Wrongs)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Poor

I cannot believe that I spent money on this book. The story is weak and the narration was quite awful. No idea from what part of Scotland the accents were supposed to come but ..........

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Slow.There are better cosy mysteries out there.

Very slow and quite dull. Delaney had just arrived in Scotland and I didn't understand why she took it upon herself to interrogate people and try to solve the murder of a person she had never met. I plodded along with this book to finish it but I won't be reading any more of the series. I've read one other book by the same author and also found it quite mundane.

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  • IAN
  • United Kingdom
  • 24-07-16

First in a New Series!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Well read by the narrator Carrington MacDuffie. With a great set of characters. Well plotted and written.

What did you like best about this story?

The mysteries contained within The Cracked Spine bookshop.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The underground tour.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Delaney saw Hamlets face.

Any additional comments?

Great start to a New Series. Hope we will get more audio books in this series.

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  • Beatrice
  • 01-04-16

A bit unbelievable

This was an okay story. There were obvious problems in the plot such as everyone talking so freely to Delaney and the fact that she was given a job with such responsibility over the phone. I will probably read the next book. But, I think this might be one of those stories in which everything works out perfectly for the main character regardless of of the complications involved. Carrington MacDuffie did a great job job with the accents. She made the book worth finishing.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Susie
  • 06-08-16

Hmmmmm

I might have liked it better if there had been a little lead up to Delaney's nosiness. It just defied logic that she could be this stranger in a foreign country at a new job (at which she never really seemed to work), who was such a busybody. But more unlikely was that everyone in Scotland was willing to answer her questions, and not tell her to mind her own business.
The story itself was ok, but the author really should have set up a scenario where there would be a reason for her nosiness. And then, create situations where she sort of stumbles onto things. Delaney seemed like a pain. Maybe I could read more of the future series if Delaney was more Miss Marple than Gladys Kravitz.
I guess it is ok if you want a little diversion.
The narrator was good. I liked the accents. Very nice.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • H D.
  • 20-05-16

Fun novel!!

A great read with a gripping story, and a wonderful performance by the narrator. I can recommend this book for anyone and any age.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Angela
  • 21-04-16

Very enjoyable!

I was listening to this book on my drive home and found myself smiling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as the plot kept me interested and the characters pulled me into the story. I hope that this book is not a standalone!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-01-18

Old Sounding Narrator

I wish a younger female had been selected to read the story. This narrator sounds like a 50 year old woman but the main character is in her 20's. If there is a second book, I hope a new narrator is found.

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  • Robin L
  • 31-12-17

Horrible main character

The book would be enjoyable except for 2 things. First you need to get past the ridiculous and unbelievable parts which aren't even central to the plot. For example, the main character Delaney is offered a job in a foreign country with only a phone interview and effortlessly falls into an ideal housing situation.
This wouldn't be a big deal except for the Delaney character. Which is my second reason. Delaney is so unlikable. She's rude, pushy and nosy. No thank you!

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Profile Image for Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe
  • Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe
  • 24-11-17

Trip to Edinburgh

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 books. On her first day at work, Edwin takes her to a highly secret auction among the Flesh Market Batch, a club for people to bid on highly valuable art, books, and collectibles. The only provenance is a guarantee by Burke, the head of the group. Then Delaney learns that a month earlier, Edwin bought a previously undiscovered first folio of a Shakespeare work, something potentially priceless if genuine. But Edwin has entrusted the folio to Jenny, his sister, who is just getting clean after many years of drug abuse. He did so in the effort to demonstrate to her that he now trusts her. But just the day before, they got into a fight when Edwin wanted the folio, but Jenny refused to give it to him.

Then, when Delaney shows up for her second day of work, her co-worker Rosie informs her and their fellow co-worker, Hamlet, that Edwin has encountered a tragedy. The previous night he went to Jenny's home, only to find her brutally murdered. Could the manuscript be behind the crime? Edwin has no intention of telling the police about this folio, so that leaves things up to Delaney to locate the missing folio and determine whether it pertains to the murder.

This book provides a great mystery plot and great character development. There are actually about 7 main characters, yet we are able to distinguish among the various ones with clear details because each character seems to be a very real person. I had fun exploring Edinburgh with Delaney, who finds that the people of Scotland use their own terms for many things, almost as another language, especially when they speak fast with their brogues.

Carrington MacDuffe does a remarkable job of performing the audio edition of the book. She does a great job of switching between accents quickly and smoothly. What impresses me is the way that the book describes different characters as having stronger or weaker brogues, and MacDuffe keeps up with all the shifts in accents among the various speakers.

I am glad that I found The Cracked Spine when it was recommended by someone in the Facebook group Cozy Mystery Corner! I really enjoyed getting to experience a different culture than we typically get to visit in our cozy mysteries. I give this book five stars!

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  • imaskot
  • 20-10-17

Accents horrible

Some of the worst Scottish accents I have heard in a long time. It totally took away from the enjoyment of listening to the book. Sorry now I purchased the next one in the series. Hopefully the accents have improved. I ended up buying the IBook for this so I could find out who did it.

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Profile Image for seeit_haveit_good
  • seeit_haveit_good
  • 29-09-17

Ok to pass the time

The story doesn't have a natural flow and feels forced as Delaney investigates. Actually a lot of the story has a forced feeling to it. While the narrator is good at the Scottish accent and men's voices, she makes the 29 year old Delaney sound like a middle-aged woman.

There are much better cozy mysteries than this series. I never had the "what's next" feeling of anticipation. I liked Paige Shelton's other series, but surprisingly this book was flat.