cover image The Cracked Spine

The Cracked Spine

Paige Shelton. Minotaur, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-05748-8

This appealing first in a new cozy series from Shelton (Merry Market Murder and four other Farmer’s Market mysteries) introduces Delaney Nichols, who answers an employment ad after losing her museum job in Wichita, Kans., and ends up working at the Cracked Spine, a bookstore in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Cracked Spine’s owner, Edwin MacAlister, belongs to a secretive little group of wealthy collectors and sellers known as the Fleshmarket Batch, named for the meat market that once existed near the bookstore. Soon after Delancy meets the shop’s two other employees, Hamlet and Rosie, Edwin’s drug addict sister is found murdered, and Edwin admits to leaving a near-priceless and now-missing item in her possession. Delaney’s desire to help almost gets her killed, but that doesn’t prevent her from making some fast friends and meeting Tom, the attractive bartender across the street. This spotlessly clean, fun-filled read takes plenty of twists and turns on the way to the satisfying ending. [em](Mar.) [/em]