cover image A Spark of Death: A Professor Bradshaw Mystery

A Spark of Death: A Professor Bradshaw Mystery

Bernadette Pajer. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (222p) ISBN 978-1-59058-905-2; $14.95 trade paper ISBN 978-1-59058-907-6

Set in 1901 Seattle, Pajer's deft, highly entertaining debut introduces calm, relentlessly logical Benjamin Bradshaw, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Washington. When fellow professor Wesley Oglethorpe is murdered, electrocuted in a particularly byzantine fashion, Bradshaw immediately comes under suspicion, having long had a hostile relationship with the deceased and possessing the esoteric skills needed to deliver a fatal shock that looks accidental. Bradshaw immediately puts his keen cognitive powers to use by searching for the real killer. Does the murder have anything to do with President McKinley's impending visit? What about Oglethorpe's browbeaten yet knowledgeable wife? Are student anarchists to blame? Bradshaw's intuitive powers go into high gear when an attempt is made on his own life, now sweeter since he has fallen in love. Readers will look forward to seeing more of this quaintly charming and idiosyncratic sleuth. (July)