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Simon Said (Professor Simon Shaw #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  829 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
Winner of the Malice Domestic/St. Martin's Press Best First Traditional Mystery Award Forensic historian Simon Shaw likes his murders old and cold, and his first case fits the bill. An archeologist friend has found a skeleton with a bullet hole in its skull under historic Bloodworth House, and Simon investigates with his usual doggedness until he discovers that the corpse ...more
Paperback, 211 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Bella Rosa Books (first published April 1st 1997)
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Mar 31, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like their cold cases extra chilled
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: richard derus
Now, normally I avoid these kinds of books. Snobbish? Maybe. Too many preconceptions? Definitely. Why? Because this is my job laid out in fictional format. But somehow (Richard Derus's fault) I've found myself reading two bits of archaeo-fiction in the last two days.

I don't watch Time Team (even though I've been on it - secret shame). I don't watch National Geographic or the History Channel (also for fear of a fleeting glance of my own mug) and the reason that I'm not at home avidly watching Za
Richard Derus
Mar 22, 2012 Richard Derus rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Report: First of the Professor Simon Shaw, forensic historian, series set in 1990s Raleigh, North Carolina. Simon Shaw's not having a good end of spring semester, 1996. His wife has left him, sending him into a deep depression. His colleagues are concerned, one of them to the point of using his depression as a lever to pry Simon out of small Kenan College's last tenured history professorship, in an academic-politics war that could end a career.

But it's the corpse in
Jan 07, 2013 Lyn rated it really liked it
Simon Said is the first in Sarah R Shaber's ENTERTAINING Simon Shaw Mystery series. I read Snipe Hunt Book 2 first and then went backwards. I LOVE SIMON SHAW. He's a great amateur sleuth with a twist; he's a forensic historian. This means he investigates long ago murders. This first investigation begins with a fellow faculty archeologist, digging up an unexpected corpse behind the Bloodworth mansion in Raleigh NC. Simon, an unassuming history professor, becomes fascinated in the woman's disappea ...more
Apr 06, 2016 Carol rated it it was amazing
I'm not a big reader of the cozy mystery sub-genre but from the start I fell in love with Simon and his friends. Throw in the mystery and a well told story and they combine to make a light and fun tale. Those that are not big fans of the darker, gorier mysteries will find that this is a pleasant surprise. The characters are not especially "deep" but they hold their own in bringing the story alive and keeping the mystery intriguing. This is the first of the Simon Shaw Mysteries but i will be look ...more
To be honest, the rating for this book may have been one star higher if I hadn't read it on Kindle - because the Kindle formatting, especially the way paragraphs and scenes constantly ran together without any breaks, was so irritatingly bad that it constantly pulled me out of the story.

But even without that, it wouldn't have made my favourite mysteries list. For the first quarter or so, I wasn't sure whether I would manage to finish the book at all - the pacing was all wrong, disjointed and rus
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
I found myself thinking what a surprising tale this novel turned out to be. A talented young professor of History is thrust into a murder mystery spanning seven decades. Can this murder be solved? Also, who is trying to kill the Professor that everyone loves...

Of course, no one is loved universally, and Professor Simon Shaw does have his enemies, such as a jealous Professor, and a student denied Graduate School due to his grade received in Simon's class.

This novel takes us through life in North
Nov 23, 2012 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cozy readers
Every once in a while, it's fun to read something simple and fun. In this case I chose a fairly straightforward mystery set in Raleigh, North Carolina with its crime the 70 year old murder of the teen age daughter of the local magnate. As the story opens, a body is found during an archaeological dig at outbuildings of the Bloodworth estate, now part of Kenan College. Professor Simon Shaw (of the title) is asked to look at the body and give an opinion re possible identity. From there the plot tak ...more
Cheryl Landmark
Dec 02, 2013 Cheryl Landmark rated it liked it
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Not an amazing mystery but certainly enjoyable and interesting for the most part. I liked the idea of Professor Shaw trying to solve a seventy-year old murder, which is not the usual premise for these types of mysteries. The author did a fairly good job of combining the cold case with history, college life and modern day attempted murder. I did find some of the info dumps a little lengthy and tedious, however.

Simon himself was a likeable guy--intelligent, modest, consider
This was 'ok'. A competent murder mystery with a rather bland Professor as the 'detective'. The real problem was that the whole thing read a bit like a list of bullet points. There was virtually no depth or emotion to the characters and the constant 'naming' of Simon became intensely irritating after a short time: e.g.

Simon went up to dress. He paused in front of the mirror to check for bags under his eyes, and he decided that they were not too pronounced, despite lack of sleep and the morning'
Jun 26, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it

The body of a woman with a bullet hole in her skull is found in an archeological dig on a historic site in Raleigh, North Carolina. Buried for at least fifty years, there's no one who could possibly identify the body.

No one except history professor Simon Shaw.

Simon Shaw is not your usual sleuth. He's not a private eye, he's a tenured history professor at a small North Carolina college. And he's not what you called hard boiled either. He's got a sensitive stomach, he's prone to headaches and he's
Jun 01, 2012 Ruth rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
c1997: I got to 70% and I just didn't care any more - so I jumped to the end just in case there had been a twist in the tail. Nada, nothing. The first half was okay but I did want to punch the "hero" and tell him to man up. I am not quite sure why I didn't enjoy this book as it appeared to have got rave reviews when it was first published eg The New York Times Book Review said that "Shaber charms us with her personable professor". It also won the 7th Annual St Martins's Press/Malice Domestic Bes ...more
Apr 09, 2011 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simon Shaw is a professor at a small but esteemed North Carolina college. He is having some problems in his private life and with the seemingly inevitable faculty squabbling. Then a body buried thirty years ago is discovered on the college grounds, once the site of family estate. Since Simon has written a book about the history of the house, he is asked to help the police discover who the buried woman was and who might have killed her.

I really liked Simon and look forward to his other adventures
Maureen Mullis
Jul 28, 2012 Maureen Mullis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-myseries
This is a nice little mystery, and I may read the next one in the series. The narrative and the dialog at times are a little stilted, but overall it was a fun read. The concept of a history professor using research to solve a 70 year old mystery is fresh and not what I thought it would be. Shaber did a fine job.
Sharon Michael
Jul 11, 2013 Sharon Michael rated it liked it
An entertaining, quick read. Interesting characters, good sense of place and of the small college community. Perhaps a bit overdone with respect to the main character stumbling into difficulties.
Rosario (
I can't remember who recommended this one, but reading the blurb, I can see exactly why I picked it up. Simon Shaw is a historian and academic working in a small university in North Carolina. When a friend of his finds a clearly old skeleton with a bullet hole through the skull while restoring an old house, Simon is brought in by the police. Given his knowledge of local history, they hope he might be able to identify the murder victim.

Doing so is quite easy. Simon quickly deduces that it must be
Carol Hartsoe
Mar 03, 2017 Carol Hartsoe rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Loved Simon Shaw! I plan to read every book in the series and just know I will enjoy them. I am very happy that I discovered Sarah Shaber's books!
Apr 30, 2014 Lighthearted rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
An archaeological dig uncovers the body of a woman shot in the head 70 years ago and buried with care under the old kitchen of Bloodworth House. Historian Simon Shaw is an expert on the history of site and he identifies the victim as Anne Bloodworth, an heiress who disappeared in 1926. Why would someone want her dead? And why did they bury her with reverence? When discovered, her arms were crossed demurely over her chest and she was neatly shrouded in a quilt.

Puzzling as those questions are, Pro
Mystereity Reviews
Jul 04, 2013 Mystereity Reviews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The first book in the Simon Said series, and I liked to so much that I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. The first part of the book had too much detail in some parts and not enough in other parts. The author spent a lot of time detailing the setting, every character's appearance and history, etc. But just a few pages later, the protagonist went home, turned on the shower and opened a can of Coke. It took me a few sentences before I realized the guy was actually in the shower d ...more
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Apr 04, 2012 Judy rated it liked it
Tenured history professor Simon Shaw teaches at small, private Kenan College in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has published an award winning book , is newly divorced, and is fighting depression and anxiety. Dr. Shaw is also an expert on the history of Bloodworth House which is owned by the college and when one of his faculty friends unearths a body during an archeological dig in one of the outbuildings behind Bloodworth House, Shaw is called to the scene. He realizes that the body has probably bee ...more
May 03, 2011 Bookwoman67 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, first-reads
This is the first book I won in a Goodreads giveaway and I was looking forward to receiving it. Unfortunately my timing was off as it arrived at the end of a very busy school year, but once I got to it I was glad I’d requested it. I’d consider it an enjoyable start to a cozy/traditional mystery series.

The historical murder is appealing and the cold case aspect fascinating. The mystery in the present is believable, with just enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing without being overwhelmi
Nov 16, 2013 Nancy added it
Winner of the Malice Domestic/St. Martin's Press Best First Traditional Mystery AwardForensic historian Simon Shaw likes his murders old and cold, and his first case fits the bill. An archeologist friend has found a skeleton with a bullet hole in its skull under historic Bloodworth House, and Simon investigates with his usual doggedness until he discovers that the corpse is Anne Bloodworth, an heiress who disappeared in 1926. Shaw feels compelled to find out who killed her. But this turns out to ...more
Apr 10, 2014 JoAnn77PL rated it it was amazing
Not bad, not bad I can say. I'm patient when it comes to a good 'history' mystery, although here, it has also much to do with the university department of history, so even more fun. Simon is whining, moody little man, whom I would shake very well before using, and I just felt like shouting: "man, get yourself together and stop contemplating how everything sucks and that another headache is coming!" But still, I enjoyed the story altogether - very nicely written, although some will complain about ...more
May 24, 2013 Gee-Gee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It had several elements that I like: historical setting (for part of the story), a determined person to find "the truth", and a realistic environment (small college politics). Dr Simon Shaw is a young, award winning author recently tenured to a small college history department. A body is found on the campus in an archaeological dig under an historical building on the campus; the very setting covered in Dr Shaw's book.
There is campus political intrigue, Dr Shaw's depression o
Candy Wood
Raleigh and the Research Triangle in North Carolina are known for major universities, but Simon Shaw is a history professor in a small, fictional college there and has little or nothing to do with the famous institutions. In one of the book’s improbabilities, he always seems to find the obscure information he seeks in his own college library. The murder mystery involves a body from 70 years earlier, found in an archaeological dig, and investigating it brings Simon out of his depression (his wife ...more
Though set in the late 20th century, this book has some of the "feel" of a classic mystery from the 1920's. The central murder happened in 1926 and is being sleuthed 70 years later by a history professor. Ms. Shaber mixed in a bit of history, a touch of romance and just enough tension to keep me clicking to the next page and avoiding chores that I really must get to.

Note: The Kindle version I read was probably a scanned version of the original book as it had a few odd errors-- for example that
Jan C
Sep 11, 2013 Jan C rated it really liked it
I didn't think this book started off that great. A history professor at a small Southern college in North Carolina whose wife has recently left him seriously depressed. An archaeologist is doing a dig near by at the old Bloodworth mansion. Prof Simon wrote the book on the Bloodworths and apparently received a Pulitzer for it. The dig turns up a body and Simon has found a new lease on life.

I don't know if I thought it was dorky or going to be a little on the cozy side. But at about the 30% mark
Jan 03, 2015 Rick rated it liked it
This was a well crafted and fun little mystery. Not a deep book to generate a lot of book club discussion, but a fun read for those times when you want to escape from the deeper books into the reader's equivalent of comfort food. I would have enjoyed it wherever it had been set, but it was an extra treat for me to have it set in Raleigh, NC, the town where I live. Although Raleigh has changed a lot since this book was published in 1997, I still enjoyed the frequent references to places in town t ...more
Karen Syed
Nov 24, 2014 Karen Syed rated it really liked it
Bravo, Sarah Shaber. The opening of the Simon Shaw series is a welcome addition to a growing sub genre. Genealogical mysteries are growing in popularity and this particular story offered readers a glimpse into Genealogical Forensics.

The author deftly wove the past and the present together to give readers a unique mystery to solve. Clues and misdirections abound as Simon struggles to stay alive.

Juggling his job and his personal life, Simon begins to wonder if he hasn't taken on more than he can h
Aug 25, 2012 Beverly rated it really liked it
Professor Simon Shaw is having a bad year. His wife left him and he is suffering from depression. He is tenured and wrote an award winning book. His colleague Alex Andrus is resentful and is obnoxious towards him. When his friend and colleague working on a dig uncovers an old skeleton, he calls on Simon to help identify it. Simon becomes obsessed with finding out who she is what happened to her. The lawyer for the police Laura McCloughlan also wants to help in the search. Simon is slowly coming ...more
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Sarah Shaber is an award-winning mystery author from North Carolina. Her WWII historical mystery series begins with LOUISE'S WAR. It features young widow Louise Pearlie, a government girl who works for the Office of Strategic Services, the United States’ first spy agency.

Shaber is also the author of the Professor Simon Shaw mysteries, BLOOD TEST, and editor of TAR HEEL DEAD. Her first book, SIMON
More about Sarah R. Shaber...

Other Books in the Series

Professor Simon Shaw (5 books)
  • Snipe Hunt (Professor Simon Shaw, #2)
  • The Fugitive King (Professor Simon Shaw, #3)
  • The Bug Funeral (Professor Simon Shaw, #4)
  • Shell Game (Professor Simon Shaw, #5)

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