Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Edison Effect: ARC Review

Bernadette Pajer continues to charm readers with The Edison Effect, #4 in her Professor Benjamin Bradshaw mysteries set in early 1900s Seattle. The Christmas season is rapidly approaching and department stores are gearing up with the latest holiday decorations...including Thomas Edison's new stringed holiday lights. But the festive colored bulbs aren't the only evidence of Edison's presence in Seattle. Edison, a ruthless business man who seeks control of every electrical patent he can get his hands on, has sent agents to Bradshaw's city in search of the misbegotten invention of one of Bradshaw's former students (see book #1, A Spark of Death). Edison himself asks Bradshaw for information about the device, but the good professor tells him as little as possible. Before long Edison's agents have struck a deal with a local diver to try and locate the box which had been tossed from a ferry into waters of the bay. Bradshaw hopes that the device will stay lost, but realizes that someone might find it...and that if someone does maybe it should be him.

But then an electrician employed by the Bon Marché  Department store is found electrocuted in a store display window. He is clutching a string of Edison's holiday lights. Bradshaw, the police department's resident expert in electricity, is called upon to investigate the death and he and Detective O'Brien must determine what connection there is to Edison and is search for the missing device--if any. For the connection to Edison isn't the only possibility, there are in-store rivalries, a wife who has been cheated on, and a mistress in the offing as well. Bradshaw's task isn't made any easier by worries at home. His courtship of Missouri Fremont has reached a critical point and he must make decisions that will affect his relationship to Missouri and his personal faith. Will he be able to resolve the murder, the mystery of the missing device, and his feelings for Missouri in time for Christmas?

This fourth entry in the Bradshaw mysteries series is every bit as delightful as the previous stories. The historical and scientific details are smoothly integrated into the story--just enough to solidly anchor the series and provide a realistic tale without weighing down the narrative with too much information or highly technical facts. Bradshaw is a wonderfully flawed individual--facing his fears and doubts with all-too-human responses and working his way through murders and relationship mysteries with thoughtful, soul-searching. And it is fun to watch his relationships with his friends, his son, and, of course, Missouri grow and develop. The people in Pajer's books are more than just characters, they have become friends who I greet warmly when I begin the latest installment and who I miss until the next story is available. 

I highly recommend the Bradshaw books to anyone who enjoys mysteries or historical novels with great characterization and interesting mysteries. Who knew there were so many ways to polish people off using electricity?  ★★

[Disclaimer: My review policy is posted on my blog, but just to reiterate....The book was offered to me for impartial review  and I have received no payment of any kind. All comments are entirely my own honest opinion.]


Ryan said...

I'm a sucker for a good cover, and that is a good cover. I'll have to check out the first book in the series and see what I think of it.

Bev Hankins said...

Ryan: I think it's a particularly good historical series. And Bernadette is a lovely lady as well.

fredamans said...

Sounds good but sounds like one that should not be read as a stand alone. I like that a mystery has a Christmas setting... great for this time of year!
Great review!

Bev Hankins said...

Yes, this is a series that definitely should be read in order--the characters grow and there is a developing storyline.