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Extended Audio Sample A Spark of Death: The First Professor Bradshaw Mystery Audiobook, by Bernadette Pajer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 5 3.63 (16 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bernadette Pajer Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Professor Bradshaw Mysteries Release Date: June 2011 ISBN: 9781470802370
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When University of Washington Professor Benjamin Bradshaw discovers the dead body of a despised colleague inside the Faraday cage of the electric machine, his carefully controlled world shatters.

The facts don’t add up. The police shout murder—and Bradshaw is the lone suspect. To protect his young son and clear his name, he must find the killer.

Seattle in 1901 is a bustling blend of frontier attitude and cosmopolitan swagger. The Snoqualmie Falls Power Plant lights the city, but to most Seattleites, electricity is newfangled and dangerous. The public wants a culprit—they want Bradshaw behind bars.

The killer wants Bradshaw dead.

His life and liberty threatened, Bradshaw discovers the thrill of investigation as he’s thrust deeper into the hunt. But questions abound. How had the electric machine’s Tesla coil delivered a fatal shock? Was the murder personal, or was it connected to President McKinley’s planned visit? Were students involved, or were they in danger? And why had Bradshaw’s best friend, Henry, fled to Alaska on the day of the murder?

Danger and death lurk everywhere—disguised as accidents. Then Henry’s niece, Missouri, appears on Bradshaw’s porch in need of a home. Her unorthodox views and femininity confuse and intrigue him, and he feels a spark of love while yet struggling to protect his own haunting secret. Has Bradshaw begun to feel alive again only to lose all he holds dear? Before it’s too late, he must discover the circuit path that led to a spark of death.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A Spark of Death crackles with mystery, romance, and expert, evocative explanation of electricity at the dawn of the twentieth century in vibrant frontier Seattle. Bernadette Pajer’s splendid debut promises dogged professor Benjamin Bradshaw will be solving crimes in many books to come.”

    William Dietrich, New York Times bestselling author 

  • “In A Spark of Death, Bernadette Pajer backs up great storytelling with thorough research to deliver a gripping tale of intrigue, wonder, and mystery. A shockingly good read!”

    John Jenkins, president, the American Museum of Radio and Electricity

  • “Set in 1901 Seattle, Pajer’s deft, highly entertaining debut introduces calm, relentlessly logical Benjamin Bradshaw, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Washington…Bradshaw’s intuitive powers go into high gear when an attempt is made on his own life, now sweeter since he has fallen in love. Readers will look forward to seeing more of this quaintly charming and idiosyncratic sleuth.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Professor Bradshaw, our intrepid protagonist, becomes the amateur detective in this promising new series.”

    Library Journal

  • “With plenty of historical details and an eclectic cast of characters, plus a well-constructed plot and terrific pacing, this engaging first novel should be recommended to all fans of historical mysteries.”

    Booklist

  • “Pajer’s series kickoff presents a good mystery, a clever detective, and a fascinating look at the early days of electrical power.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Stacy | 2/12/2014

    " An appealing, cozy mystery. Pajer gives the hero depth of life with the love of his son, Justin, and the compelling conciousness of electrical engineering in the early 1900s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joan | 2/5/2014

    " I met the author when she was in Portland this summer. This had some person interest for me because the setting is familiar to me - University of Washington - and because of my connections to engineering as a field. So, I enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 1/25/2014

    " Professor Bradshaw is concerned with two things: teaching his engineering classes, and hiding the truth about his wife's death from his young son. When the brilliant but obnoxious professor Oglethorpe is killed, Bradshaw becomes the main suspect, and he's forced to use his brain, and his very rusty instincts about people, to get himself out of a mess. Could Oglethorpe's death have anything to do with a visit by President McKinley to the University? And is anyone else in danger? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heidi | 1/20/2014

    " Not profound, but very well written and cute, fun history, appealing characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie | 1/18/2014

    " Professor Bradshaw is a welcome addition to the ranks of amateur sleuths. On to book two! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 1/1/2014

    " A great read! I enjoyed the mystery without the bad language, racy scenes and other all too usual things in most books today. Thank you, Bernadette, for writing this book. I look forward to following Professor Bradshaw in his future adventures. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 12/12/2013

    " Exellent read. Surprisingly well done for a first book. Intriguing character, and a very, very good job of maintaining the correct historical framework. I will look forward to the next book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bonnie Gonzales | 12/9/2013

    " It took me about half way through the book to get into it, it did stump me on the who did it part, but there were some unforgettable parts, and I look forward to see what Professor Bradshaw will be up to next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 T | 12/5/2013

    " clean. somewhat interesting "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary G. | 7/29/2013

    " It was a very nice debut novel with an interesting setting. The story surrounded a university engineering professor from Seattle. It will be interesting to see where Pajer takes her characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 7/25/2013

    " The author didn't find her groove until chapter 21. I might read her later books, after she develops as a writer, but this was too choppy and adjective filled for my tastes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J | 10/20/2012

    " Started pretty slowly, but then got better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 8/12/2012

    " Death by using a new technology set when it was new -hard to figure the who in the who done it. got a littke over the top in explanations but otherwise good characaters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Torie Stratton | 6/13/2012

    " I have not been a big mystery reader so I relished the historical descriptions in the book. But that wouldn't be enough if I didn't love Bernadette's language. Very enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherrill Sellers | 3/1/2012

    " A fun, quick read. I figured out the mystery about mid way but kept reading as the setting is interesting and the characters are engaging. I especially enjoyed Professor Bradshaw's efforts to explain complex technology in lay terms--made me want to google "electricity" and "1901". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenniefamilee | 8/22/2011

    " A uniquely fun Seattle history mystery! Love the scientific detail. I am looking forward to the rest of this series. "

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About the Author
Author Bernadette Pajer

Bernadette Pajer is a Seattle native and graduate of the University of Washington, Bothell.

About the Narrator

Malcolm Hillgartner is an actor, author, playwright, and professional narrator. Under the name Jahnna N. Malcolm, he and his wife, Jahnna Beecham, have written over one hundred books for young readers; their musicals have played in theaters across America. His audiobook credits include works by Dean Koontz, Nelson Algren, and William F. Buckley Jr.