Library Journal Review
Delaney Nichols is enjoying drinks with a group of Edinburgh medical students who had come to the bookshop where she works to sell some antique medical texts. By the next morning, someone has tried to break into the Cracked Spine, and one of the students is found murdered in the alley. Delaney is sure the crime can be traced to the previous night's conversation about scalpels owned by a notorious 19th-century doctor who had bought corpses for dissection from murderers -William Burke and William Hare. When she finds the scalpels in the bookshop's warehouse, she is determined to find the killer. Once again, as in Of Books and Bagpipes, Delaney is caught up in a mystery filled with Scottish history. The spirited unconventional amateur sleuth at times overshadows the other characters with her impulsiveness, rashness, and aggressiveness in inserting herself into the police investigation. VERDICT Shelton's atmospheric Scottish bookstore lacks its usual charm in this weak third series entry. Fans of quirky bookstore cozies may want to try Vicki Delany's "Sherlock Holmes Bookshop" mysteries.-Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Deceit and misdirection abound in Shelton's diverting third Scottish Bookshop Mystery (after 2017's Of Books and Bagpipes). Kansan Delaney Nichols is finally feeling at home in Edinburgh, thanks largely to her job at the Cracked Spine, a mysterious bookstore specializing in rare manuscripts and historical objects. Delaney is fascinated when medical student friends tell her of their "wee bit odd" professor who's obsessed with Burke and Hare, 19th-century killers who sold the corpses of their victims to Dr. Robert Knox for dissection in his anatomy classes at Edinburgh University. But when one of the students is found dead in the alley behind the bookstore with a human skull placed next to her body, Delaney vows to discover who did it. Could the murder have to do with artifacts in the bookstore that may have belonged to Dr. Knox? Impulsive Delaney rushes thoughtlessly into danger, and the intricate plot becomes confusing in places. But Shelton's lovely depictions of Edinburgh, its denizens, and its bookshops will enchant lovers of cozies with a Scottish setting. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds Literary Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
Kansan Delaney Nichols works as an appraiser at the Cracked Spine, a rare-book and -manuscript shop in Edinburgh. She's settled into life in Scotland with a boyfriend, pub owner Tom, and new friends, medical students Sophie and Rena, when a third medical student, Mallory, is found murdered in the alley outside the bookshop. When reporter Bridget Carr publishes an article intimating that Delaney may be involved in the murder, Delaney becomes determined to find Mallory's killer. Perhaps the murder is connected to a group of physician friends one of whom was a murderer who has been missing for years or even to the nineteenth-century of William Burke and William Hare, men who murdered to provide Dr. Robert Knox with corpses for dissection. Delaney interviews suspects who all have something to hide, but she ultimately uncovers the truth while almost losing her life. Background on the rare-book business and the Burke and Hare case is woven through the story, which boasts an engaging cast and multiple plotlines.--O'Brien, Sue Copyright 2018 Booklist