Secrets, Secrets, Meet New Person, and more Secrets
3 Stars | Adult | Fiction | Mystery
The main character leaves the U.S. for a new job at The Cracked Spine bookshop in Edinburgh, Scotland. But before they can settle into their new life and job, a precious artifact goes missing and a coworker's family member has been murdered. Let the secrets begin.
I really wanted to like this book! It's my dream job to work in a bookshop. Also, it's a murder mystery AND it's set in Scotland. Three for three! But sadly, I was just confused as I tried to understand all that was going on and why. And I've yet to figure out what the main character's actual job was or is now.
This book initially read like I accidentally started in the middle of the series, as if I should already know the boss, the co-workers, and a few other characters thrown into the mix who were behaving kind of tense with each other and keeping secrets already within the first few chapters. As I continued, even before the murder occurred, I felt as if I was just watching a nosy main character, plus other characters speaking in incomplete thoughts. Some of the characters' actions also didn't make sense and some things were never explained: Here's a couple examples:
-Chasing after a figure in a crowd you don't think should be there, after telling the other character you were just talking to, to stay put, even though you know they aren't going to because you just told the reader not a couple pages earlier that they would high-tale-it outta-dodge the first chance they got! So, the sudden, did-I-really-see-what-I-think-I-saw? Let me chase them down to amp up the story's intensity, though there isn't any to begin with, really didn't work.
-The main character's quirk that is mentioned in the beginning of the book that they've had to learn to deal with their entire life is suddenly changed for no apparent reason and never explained why.
-The main character also just arrived but for some reason feels the need to put herself at risk of physical harm and begins keeping secrets of her own to find out what happened to this coworker's family member after they are told of their murder. This person is also overly concerned for their coworkers. You just met these folks, why are you feeling a 'wave of relief' to know they are okay?
Within the last thirty or so pages, the book started feeling like a set up for future books in this Scottish Bookshop Mystery series by continuing to introduce characters to the mix for a split second, then continuing with the initial story.
Other than the characters not really being believable and the lack of plot, the writing mechanics were good and the dialogue was realistic. There were only a couple tiny areas that I noticed it wasn't as realistic, but for the most part it was very well done in that sense. I enjoyed and appreciated the Scottish dialogue especially because I could hear their various brogues when reading.
Even though the ending did help to clear up the confusion about the characters I had throughout the book, it didn't leave me satisfied. It's possible that a number of her other books are better than this one but at this time I'd rather try a different mystery writer
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