by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of The Cracked Spine, along with a link to purchase it where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Delaney Nichols surprises even herself when her job at a small museum in Wichita, Kansas is the victim of budget cuts. She answers an ad for “a bold adventurer” who is willing to relocate to Scotland and work in a special bookshop. She and the owner, Edwin, hit it off on the phone, and the next thing she knows, she’s on her way.
She’s got a lucky start with the cab driver who picks her up–he gives her a bit of history and makes sure she’s delivered to the bookshop without a problem. Her hotel is within sight of the store.
Edwin isn’t in when she arrives, but Hamlet is there. Like his name implies, he’s an actor in Shakespearian plays and works part-time in the bookstore. Rosie is the other employee, along with her Yorkie, Hector. The store is overcrowded with books.
Delaney has a secret—she hears the voices of the characters in her head…all the time. It was puzzling as a child, but they’ve become a comfort over the years. The street where the shop is located is full of small stores with offices or flats overhead.
One of her first jobs is to go to an auction with Edwin. It’s more of a club of sorts, the location not announced and the items have a unique if not entirely factual history. Edwin’s sister, Jenny, is to meet them but is a no-show.
When he can’t reach his sister, Edwin visits her flat only to find her body. Edwin is very rich, but the terms of the will specified he can’t share with Jenny. He managed to find a way to help with the rent but can’t do much more. Although Jenny is now in her fifties and has been through rehab several times, she still slips into her old drug habits now and again. The question is, is her death drug related or is it over a truly rare and expensive item Edwin gave her as a show of his trust?
Edwin confides in her about Jenny’s past and his guilt about robbery being a possible motive. Jenny was heard to argue with a man several times before her death. Once was Edwin—who were the others?
Hamlet knew her and had been to see her the day before, so he’s a suspect. The man across the hall is just weird. Other members of the auction club might have been involved as well.
In the middle of investigating, Delaney suddenly stops hearing the voices in her head. Is it temporary or a permanent thing? And which would she like it to be?
This is the first in a new series, A Scottish Bookshop Mystery, and promises to be a good one. Scotland and its history are as much of a character as the people. Tom, owner of Scotland’s smallest pub, is a delight and a romantic interest for Delaney. Hamlet, Edwin, the cabby and his wife, Rosie, and especially Hector, round out the main group, and each has a story to tell.
To enter to win a copy of The Cracked Spine, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cracked,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 16, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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If you use this link to purchase the book a portion will go to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy: