The Edison Effect: A Professor Bradshaw Mystery

Written by Bernadette Pajer
Review by Ilysa Magnus

Professor Benjamin Bradshaw is not merely an academic; he is now an “electrical forensic” specialist working with the Seattle police in the early part of the 20th century. In other words, he is a CSI using his intimate knowledge of electricity to solve crimes – a fascinating combination.

A window designer is found dead at the largest department store in Seattle, the Bon Marché, electrocuted by the new-fangled Edison Christmas lights. Bradshaw determines quickly that this is a murder, not an accident. And so his investigation begins. He soon realizes that the victim knew his murderer – but how? And what can Bradshaw do to narrow the field of possible bad guys? And how, if at all, does the potentially devastating weapon invented by his late student enter into the mix?

The newest installment in Pajer’s Bradshaw series is wonderful, a quick and satisfying read. Not only do we learn about the science of electricity and wander Seattle in its early days, but we are invited into Bradshaw’s private life, as he wrestles with the decision between his Church and his love. Clearly, I was not at all savvy about Edison, but the guy wasn’t very nice. I always like learning new things, but particularly when I read a book outside my frame of reference and enjoy it.