Capacity for Murder
by Bernadette Pajer

Poison Pen Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-464-20126-4.
Reviewed by Sharon Wildwind
Posted on 04/14/2014

Fiction: Historical; Fiction: Mystery

I love Edwardian mysteries; I love scientific mysteries, so snatching this one off the library shelf was a no brainer. I'm also easily distracted and disappointed by mysteries that get either the history, the scientific detail, or both wrong. I was neither distracted nor disappointed by anything in this book. To use 1903 slang, this one is a corker.

Professor Benjamin Bradshaw is a professor at the State University in Seattle, Washington. He's also—to the best of my literary knowledge—the first and probably only Electrical Forensics Investigator, being both a scientist and a private detective.

It's amazing how many ways there were to kill someone in the average 1903 household. Dr. Hornsby's Healing Sands Sanitarium, located on Washington's wild North Shore is no ordinary household. The diet of uncooked, fermented foods alone might be enough to do someone in.

But it's electrical not culinary murder that interests Dr. Bradshaw. Dr. Hornsby's son-in-law, a well-liked and self-taught electrician, died while taking electrotherapy treatments for a delicate male problem. Dr. Hornsby is understandably distraught and wants Professor Bradshaw to determine exactly what went wrong during the treatment.

What Bradshaw discovers is that a lot is going wrong all over the house.

Capacity for Murder the third in the series, and a fourth is promised for 2014 fall. I plan to go both backwards and forwards and read all of them. I recommend you do, too.

Bernadette Pajer loves the Pacific Northwest. She has both a scientific and a creative writing background. She is immersed in writing about the early days of the turn of the last century, a wondrous time when the race was on to discover and invent everything. Not all of the inventions turned out to be a good idea, which is a wonderful thing for a mystery writer. For more about Bernadette, her books, and turn-of-the-century inventions, visit her website.

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