Taking a leap of faith, an archivist moves to Scotland for an exciting job opportunity.
Delaney Nichols knows she’s not in Kansas anymore when she has trouble understanding the speech of Elias, the friendly cab driver who delivers her to an Edinburgh bookstore. She soon meets her fellow workers at The Cracked Spine: Hamlet, a young student with a troubled past, and elderly Rosie, who greets her with delight. Their employer, wealthy Edwin MacAlister, specializes in rare books and manuscripts and has a locked room in his shop filled with treasures sadly in need of cataloging. The next day, Edwin takes Delaney along to a private auction where he and a small group of friends bid on rare objects. When they arrive, Edwin expects to see his sister, Jenny, a drug addict he’s tried to help by bolstering her self-esteem, though letting her keep his recent buy of the fantastically rare and valuable Shakespeare First Folio may not have been such a wise idea. Delaney has a mystical relationship with books, whose characters talk to her, and she’s thrilled to work with Edwin’s valuable collection in his private warehouse. But all that falls by the wayside when Jenny is found brutally murdered and the Folio, which Edwin doesn’t mention to the police, vanishes. The official suspects include Hamlet and various denizens of the house in the sketchy area where Jenny lived with other addicts. Delaney hastens to investigate with some help from Elias and his wife, who are now her landlords, and moral support from a handsome pub owner who looks oh so good in a kilt. Her curiosity takes her into danger that’s as predictable as the First Folio’s disappearance.
Prolific Shelton (If Onions Could Spring Leeks, 2015) kicks off a new series featuring a sleuth who’ll delight book lovers, a so-so mystery, and Edinburgh in the starring role.