Reviewer Vivek Tejuja: Vivek is a voracious reader who has loved and lived books since he was five. As he grew up, the love of books grew far larger and presently he reads for pleasure and to spread the word of good books. You can read more about Vivek by referring to his Blog, The Hungry Reader.
Author: Bernadette Pajer
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
This is the season of mystery and crime when it comes to the kind of books I have been reading. Mystery is on the top of the reading list and frankly I am enjoying the experience. A Spark of Death by Bernadette Pajer is one amongst such books which kept me up all night. It had me going from the first word and has been quite a ride. It is one of those historical mysteries that you might be skeptical about; however, it is a great read.
A Spark of Death is the first in the Professor Bradshaw Mystery series. This also happens to be the writers’ debut book. The novel is set at the dawn of the 20th century in Seattle, Washington. Bradshaw is a young professor at the University of Washington who is accused of murdering his colleague through an electrified metal contraption on campus. Bradshaw then sets off his investigation in the true-blue Arthur Conan Doyle fashion where everyone is a suspect. This coincides with the trials and experiments to discover electricity, which is portrayed brilliantly throughout the book. At one point the locals are scared of technology and that rings true on so many levels – primary being the idea of rejecting anything that is new.
As a primary character, I found Dr. Bradshaw quite affable. He is a man of logic who is also trying to deal with his emotional demons, and yet not losing sight of the case. For readers, who enjoy the historical fiction genre, there is the side-plot of the discovery of electricity which is written in a detailed manner.
The secondary characters were also efficiently crafted- my favourite being, “Missouri Fremont.” Someone that is bold, brash and exactly the type of woman every girl would like to be. There is not a dull moment in the entire book. For a first book, Bernadette has ensured that the plot is tight and makes you want to keep turning the pages to get to the end faster than the blink of an eye. The research that is undergone to write the book is lucid in its pages and the reader can tell that the writer knows what she is talking about. Bernadette Pajer makes the reading come alive with her descriptions and keen eye-for-detail. For instance, when you read about electricity and its beginning, you can actually see and experience it take place right before your eyes.
I would highly recommend the book for someone that loves a good mystery mashed with good old historical fiction.