Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Fatal Induction: Review
Bernadette Pajer has done it again. In Fatal Induction, she has once more swept us back in time to the Seattle of 1901. And she does it with such deft simplicity that we don't even feel the whoosh of the years as we travel back in time. Her details are perfect and there is no trouble at all in believing that we are walking the streets of turn-of-the-century Seattle with Professor Benjamin Bradshaw. The believability doesn't stop with the time and the setting. Her characters are becoming more and more real--and this is just the second book in her supremely enjoyable historical mystery series.
Ben Bradshaw is a delightful character. He is the absorbed, somewhat absent-minded professor who is also passionately devoted to his son and very loyal to his friends. He can't resist helping someone who's in trouble. And when a peddler's wagon is abandoned behind his house and it becomes apparent that the peddler's daughter Emily disappeared after witnessing her father's murder, Bradshaw cannot leave the mystery alone. He is willing to search for the girl anywhere--including the far from savory world of bars, dance halls, and brothels. His investigations cause his friends to worry for his safety and he eventually steps on enough toes that he receives a threatening note. But his sense of justice and concern for the girl won't rest until her father's killer is caught and the girl is safe.
Ben is also an inventor and while the mystery is swirling he is at work on a contest entry for a device that will deliver the music from the Seattle Grand Theater by phone to Seattle homes. It occurs to him that not only does he have a contest winner on his hands, but that it could also be adapted to help trap the villain. Devoting hours in his workshop, he puts his health at risk as he tries to complete the device to catch the killer. But will he be in time to save Emily?
This exciting installment in the Bradshaw mysteries not only gives us more of his character, but we get to know Mrs. Prouty, the housekeeper, and his son, Justin, better. Justin proves himself to be his father's son when it comes to compassion--hiding the girl for a while....right under his father's and Mrs. Prouty's noses. It was also enjoyable to see the friendship between Bradshaw and Detective O'Brien grow and be tested. It gives a very authentic feel to the story. I do have to admit to being just a little bit frustrated with Bradshaw and his feelings for Missouri. Although I do understand his reluctance, I just want to give him a giant shove and say, "Get on with it, already!"
All-in-all, a very satisfying historical mystery. I have fallen in love with this series and look forward with great anticipation to the next installment. Four stars.