The Broken Spine


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When small-town assistant librarian Tru Beckett sets up a secret book room in her newly modernized library, she discovers that protecting the printed word is harder than she'd ever imagined. In fact, it's murder.

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Jan 22, 2021

Unique concept for cozy mystery

The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James has Trudell Becket, assistant librarian, distraught that her beloved library in Cypress, South Carolina is becoming bookless. The books are the heart of the library. The library and its books helped Trudell get through some difficult times growing up. When Trudell learns that the town manager, Duggar Hargrove is having the books tossed into the landfill, she comes up with a plan. Trudell along with a couple of trusted friends are transporting books into the basement vault when she hears a large crash. She rushes upstairs to find Duggar dead underneath a bookcase. Trudell is surprised to discover that the lead detective is Jace who humiliated her in high school. As if that is not bad enough, Trudell learns she is the prime suspect. Trudell with help from two close friends works to prove her innocence by finding the guilty party. The Broken Spine is the debut of A Beloved Bookroom Mystery series. I thought The Broken Spine had an interesting premise. A library with no books. This is the first time that I had heard of this concept. I found The Broken Spine was easy to read with some interesting characters. I do hope the author will provide more background on Trudell in the next book. I would like to see her fleshed out more (I want to know more about this book loving librarian) along with the other regular characters (Tori, Flossie, Jace, Charlie). I just loved the cat, Dewey. He is a cute and smart feline. I also liked Charlie who is new to town and opening The Deckled Edge. I thought that was a clever name for a bookstore. The mystery was clear-cut. There were a couple of suspects, a red herring, and direct clues. I would like to see that mystery in the next book to be more of a challenge. I was not a fan of Jace and the way he treated Trudell. I think Trudell deserves someone better as her romantic partner (maybe Jace will redeem himself in the next book). I did find the book slow in spots and there was repetition of information. I felt the story needed more depth. I am curious to see if Trudell can keep her secret library hidden from her boss along with Dewey. The Broken Spine is a unique cozy mystery with a bookless library, a clever cat, a demanding mayor, a bevy of beloved books, a determined detective, and a lockpicking librarian.

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