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Simon Said (Professor Simon Shaw #1)

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  588 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
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 is Anne Bloodworth, an heiress who disappeared in 1926. Shaw feels compelled to find o ...more
Kindle Edition, 220 pages
Published March 9th 2011 by Sarah R. Shaber (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 Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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
Nov 25, 2012 Sue rated it liked it
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
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
Jan 20, 2012 Kribu rated it it was ok
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
Apr 12, 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
Jan 10, 2013 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 30, 2014 Lighthearted rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2014 JoAnn77PL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Maureen Mullis
Aug 04, 2012 Maureen Mullis rated it really liked it
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.
Karen Syed
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
Jan 03, 2015 Rick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sharon Michael
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
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
Jun 02, 2012 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 04, 2012 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jun 30, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Jul 05, 2013 Tam rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 13, 2013 Gee-Gee rated it really liked it
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
Sep 08, 2015 Kristen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Painfully slow and I didn't like the characters at all. I think this book suffered from mid-1990s-itis, which is not really the fault of the author or the story, given that's when it was written. However, it didn't hold my interest and I skimmed the last half. I will try the next book in this series, because one of my favorite authors, Margaret Maron, loves it, and sometimes it takes a minute to get in stride with a new series.
Kathy Smith
Jun 02, 2015 Kathy Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the second book by Sarah Shaber that I read. The first one was ok. This one was better. I found it easier to follow the story line and the characters were more believable. Simon is a professor at a college in Raleigh, NC. A dead body is found on campus in some archaeological digs. The story follows the effort to eliminate Simon as he tries to solve the mystery of the body in the digs.
Jan C
Sep 11, 2013 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 27, 2014 DH rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shaber uses the world of the history department to edify readers on a historical mystery. She shows how academic battles are so fierce because the stakes are so small. An enjoyable first novel, the author has established a series based on the main character. Worth a read, especially for historians.
Lisa Roberts
May 07, 2015 Lisa Roberts rated it it was amazing
Great read really enjoyed the story. It all And made sense unlike some I've read.

Really enjoyed the story line. It made sense no sudden characters or surprise additions unlike some I've had misfortune to read.
Apr 21, 2015 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a short, fun, quick little mystery. I had to keep reminding myself it was written in 1997, since things have changed since then. But the plot was fun and the hero is likable. And there were places I laughed. And I learned things!
Aug 25, 2012 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dian Cronan
Feb 21, 2015 Dian Cronan rated it liked it
This one is an okay, quick read. The characters kept me invested more than the plot did. It doesn't really get exciting until the very end.
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Sarah R. Shaber is the award-winning author of the Professor Simon Shaw murder mysteries and editor of Tar Heel Dead, short stories by North Carolina mystery writers. She has since sold a new series, set in Washington DC during World War II, to Severn House. The first book, LOUISE’S WAR was published in July 2011. The second, LOUISE'S GAMBLE, came out in May 2012. LOUISE'S DILEMMA will be publishe ...more
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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