Reviewed by Barefoot Reviews
Professor Benjamin Bradshaw pursues another case to its resolution in the third of Pajer’s Bradshaw mysteries. An engaging piece of historical fiction with just enough electrical engineering information to be interesting, the pacing is sharp. Bradshaw is reluctant to go into the wild territory of Washington state in the early 1900s, but his curiosity to investigate another electrical event gone wrong urges him forward. With his friend, Henry, Missouri who is a love interest he is trying to ignore, his young son and friend, his housekeeper, and college students in tow, he arrives at Healing Sands Sanitarium to find that it is his invention that killed a man.
Pajer’s character development is spot on, from the emotional disaster of Dr. Hornsby, to the crass Arnold Loomis and all points in between. Professor Bradshaw, his usual thoughtful self, manages to balance all the plates in the air keeping his students busy, his son occupied, and his friend Henry, a sidekick worth his salt and reminiscent of Dr. Watson, off in pursuit of information and smuggling in decent coffee and snacks. He and Henry are the only two who seem to labor under the diet restrictions of the healing facility. In the midst of the chaos, Bradshaw’s personal feelings for Missouri won’t go away and his past won’t set him free.
While Dr. Hornsby believes he has killed his much-loved son-in-law with electrical therapy, Bradshaw recognizes almost immediately the machine has been sabotaged and they have a murder to solve. Police arrive to push the professor aside and strong arm the situation, but the perfectly portrayed, arrogant sheriff soon recognizes he needs the professor if he is to succeed. Much to the annoyance of the guests at the sanitarium, they are sequestered until the investigation is over.
The story’s isolated setting enhances the tension, builds on the secrets, surrounding the strange group of paying guests at the sanitarium, and ends with a bang.