The Edison Effect: A Professor Bradshaw Mystery

The Edison Effect: A Professor Bradshaw Mystery - Bernadette Pajer I received a free kindle copy of The Edison Effect, A Professor Bradshaw Mystery by Bernadette Pajer, published by Poisoned Pen Press, Discover Mystery from NetGalley in exchange for fair review. I gave it three stars, only because it was a slow starter for the first third of the book.

The Edison Effect takes place in Seattle in 1903 when he arrives to look for a lost invention. Professor Benjamin Bradshaw is touched because Edison files a lawsuit for infringement of invention. There are many events triggered by Edison's arrival. Missouri, Professor Bradshaw's love is visiting to see if the Wright brothers will succeed in flight.

There is a body discovered in the display window of the department store The Bon Marche. The man had been electrocuted clutching a strand of Edison's Christmas lights.

The tools at hand to discover the killer are new ones, the Bertillon Anthropometric System along with fingerprinting. It's odd to think of fingerprinting as new. As far as the Bertillon Anthropometric System, it's now used to enhance ergonomically designed office furniture rather than in any criminal investigation.

The invention of Oscar Daulton's was thrown overboard. Daulton was hanged two years prior. Chief Sullivan wanted to know why Professor Bradshaw was connecting this with the murder of the electrician.

"Sullivan scowled, but Bradshaw felt no need to defend himself. He might help the police, but he didn't play the games of power that at times crippled the department. His single-minded goal was to find the truth of the matter. His methods would not be swayed by police or city politics."

When Professor Bradshaw was questioning co-workers of Mr. Doyle, the murdered man, about whether he had any enemies someone explained: "He was full of himself. He was always saying, 'In the beginning, God said, 'Let there be light,' then He created the electrician to distribute it.'"

Bradshaw had heard the expression only it was linemen, not electricians to distribute light.

Edison's attorney was John Davenport Maddock. When he met Professor Bradshaw he said: "My friends call me J.D., & I hope you will, too.'

"'Thank you, Mr. Maddock.' Bradshaw trusted instant informality even less than exuberant praise."

The description of Maddock's office showed it served as double-duty as his living quarters. "A fold-up bed was secured to the wall, its rectangular undersurface inadequately disguised with a poster of the Edison film, The Great Train Robbery, on which a narrow-eyed cowbowy with a fat mustache & a handkerchief at his throat leveled a pistol directly at anyone sitting in Maddock's guest chairs.

I suppose the attorney's acerbic wit was not enough to disarm his guests, so he used a prop.

In describing the Seattle of 1903, there seemed to be perpetual motion. It was described as: "The rat-a-tat of a tapping telegraph key greeted Bradshaw as he approached the door to his own office in the Bailey Building, a couple blocks from the Globe. He wondered wnat it would be like if all the various tapping and hammering, banging and clanging sounds of the city could be brought into harmony to form a symphony, rather than unnerving discord."

Henry Pratt was Bradshaw's Assistant. As Bradshaw was walking into his office, he heard a string of cuss words.

"Taller than Bradshaw, broader, gruffer, but no less intelligent, Henry Pratt had the physique of a logger, the speech of a miner, & the education of a scholar. He could, if he disciplined himself, fit in with the highest echelons of society, but he preferred the dives of the lower regions where, it said, it was easier to spot the liars & cheats."

Officer O'Brien & Henry weere comparing notes about what they had discovered at the Bon. They both "cringed at the shoe salesman's use of 'overly fond' & 'smitten' in regards to Mr. Olafson's feelings toward the boys & Billy Creasle." I understand their cringing. Just a hint of that type of thing can destroy a man's reputation for life even if he is not guilty.

Troy Ruzauskas is a window dresser & artist who had been passed over for promotion because of Billy Creasle's unscrupulous tactics. Bradshaw went to visit him for an interview. The young man bared his soul to the Professor, especially in regard to wanting to marry a wealthy young woman. He is stuggling to make a living so her parents will accept him & she can live in a way he believes she deserves.

"I understand,' Bradshaw said. He understood more than the young man knew. He understood the fear, the desperation, the feeling of unworthiness. But in his own case, the chief obstacle between him & the woman he loved was religion, not money."

He left the Bon & wanted to get away for everything was grating against his nerves. He wasn't ready to be cheerful. He wanted to be alone in his quandry about Missouri.

He went to the observatory & in looking at the night sky felt insignificant & gained perspective.

Later he went to interview Mrs. Doyle. He asked if anyone had been angry with her husband.

"She shrugged & shook her head. 'Most people liked him well enough, I think.'

'But he could be difficult, like he was with his sons & family?'

'Oh, no. He was different outside the home.'

"Bradshaw understood her meaning. Wasn't he the same? Weren't most people? With masks of social appropriateness & good manners worn in public, & true emotions, often the most hurtful,unleashed at home? Wasn't that why he'd chosen to work late last night, so that he wouldn't expose his son to his confused & angry mood?"

As Bradshaw is tinkering with a device in an attempt to locate the lost invention of Daulton's that had been thrown overboard off the ferry, O'Brien says: "You know, it's sometimes quite fun being friends with an inventor. You have an ingenious solution for everything."

One thing I found interesting was they used an iron to toast the bread & melt the cheese on their sandwich. I've done that myself.

Bradshaw bought a ring on the spur of the moment before he went to visit Father Mcguinness to see if a special dispensation could be made so that he could marry Missouri.

Will the missing invention be found? Will Bradshaw decide to marry Missouri without the blessing of the church? Will the murderer be found before he kills someone else? Will whoever burgled Bradshaw's house be found?

The last third of the book was interesting, but still did not bring it higher than three stars.

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