A Christmas Tartan – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars.

A Christmas Tartan is a novella that comes in between The Cracked Spine and Of Books and Bagpipes in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series by Paige Shelton. It’s a wonderful holiday story and a cozy mystery to boot!

Book Cover: A Christmas Tartan by Paige Shelton - Dark green background with wooden counter - red, green & black plaid tartan scarf, silver plate etched with trees, silver spoon, brown button, and book on table - holly hanging in the bkgd.

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Brief Synopsis

Christmastime has come to Scotland, and Delaney and all her coworkers at the Cracked Spine, the quirky bookshop in the heart of Edinburgh, are all in the holiday spirit. Between mugs of hot chocolate and nibbles of gingerbread, Delaney has been given the task of tracking down the provenance of a mysterious box of objects that her boss, Edwin, has recently acquired. In it are various trinkets, but what really catches Delaney’s eye is a worn copy of A Christmas Carol, where she also finds an old photo tucked inside. On the back is a name, which leads her to a woman whose granddaughter has gone missing. When it becomes clear that the box might be connected to the missing girl, Delaney is pulled into the intrigue, and takes it upon herself to figure out what really happened—and why. (Source: Goodreads)

Review

This novella is a little bit different from the other two full-length novels in this series (I can’t really state how it is different though, as that would give some of the plot away). However, that being said, I really enjoyed this story!

This story deals mostly with Delaney herself. Our other usual cast of characters have very little role in this mystery, but we do see them a little. This story has our heroine checking out the provenance of this mystery box of items. In doing so, she comes across an old, unsolved mystery of a missing young woman.

This is just a fast-paced, fun little mystery to whet the appetite for the second book in the series. It’s definitely fun and a page-turner, but there’s not a lot of character development or personal relationship development in this book. Nothing that really seems important to the overall arc to the series. Yet, it’s still a delightful read.

There’s not much else I can say without spoilers, so I’ll just end with saying pick it up – you’ll enjoy it!!

The Cracked Spine – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars.

I recently finished The Cracked Spine which is the first book in the Scottish Bookshop series by Paige Shelton and it was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read more by her!

Book Cover: The Cracked Spine, A Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Paige Shelton - outside of bookshop, red awning with the text, two display windows where you can see books, red doors, a small brown and black dog on the sidewalk along with a knife and 3 books scattered

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Brief Synopsis

In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn’t know much about what she’s gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she’ll be working with “a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes,” and Delaney can’t wait to get started.

When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue — and it doesn’t hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt.

But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact — a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays — goes missing, and Edwin’s sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it’s connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself. (Source: Goodreads)

Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I picked it up to read from my library a couple of months ago, but other books came in that had holds on them and I got several books for blog tours and such so it sat there for a bit. Then, I got approval to review the second book in the series, Of Books & Bagpipes, which comes out April 4th, so I knew I needed to get to this one. I was not disappointed in the least!

This book came very close to getting 5 stars, but it just didn’t have that extra pizzazz that I like to feel with a 5-star book. Even still, it was excellent and delightful!

These characters are fun, loving, and down-to-earth. They’re believable and yet well-developed and complex. I’m absolutely thrilled that for at least this first book, we didn’t start off with a love triangle! Sometimes that gets really old in cozy mysteries. Here, our main character, Delaney is only dating one man (yay!).

The plot line in this book moved along quite smoothly and quickly. Not so fast that I couldn’t keep up, but there certainly weren’t any slow parts in my opinion. I had no idea as far as who the villain was until the end when they are revealed. I was trying to put the clues together, but I just didn’t have any idea, which I like!

The descriptions of the settings were wonderful. This is probably one instance when I wouldn’t mind more description instead of less. Scotland’s at the top of my “travel to someday” list, so I greedily soak up any and all descriptions I read about Scotland, Edinburgh, and everything Scottish! If this book was set in any other locale, I might have felt the descriptions were a little too much, but being that it’s Scotland, I’ll take any and all descriptions given!

The only thing I didn’t really care for is that Delaney seems to be one of those heroines who just has to know it all and figure it all out, even if that means putting herself into harm’s way far more often than she should. I liked that Elias was determined that she wouldn’t go alone, but I kind of prefer a heroine who doesn’t rush head-long into danger all the time.

Other than that, this is a fantastic book and you should read it!

About the Author

Paige Shelton is the New York Times bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She’s lived in many places but currently resides in Arizona. Visit her at paigeshelton.com(Source: Amazon)