Amy's Reviews > A Spark of Death

A Spark of Death by Bernadette Pajer
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Aug 03, 14

bookshelves: mysteries, historical-fiction, reviewed, pacific-northwest
Read from November 10 to 21, 2011

On one hand, I liked A Spark of Death. I liked that it takes place in early 20th century Seattle, and that a (fictional) University of Washington professor is the protagonist. This is a time period in Seattle and University of Washington history that I find to be very interesting, and I feel like Bernadette Pajer captured that time very well. I also liked that Pajer is a UW graduate, and I congratulate her on her accomplishment of seeing this book published.

On the other hand, I wasn't that invested in the characters in A Spark of Death. I sort of liked Professor Bradshaw, but he didn't *quite* feel three dimensional to me--he *almost* did, but not quite. Actually, I felt like many of the characters were lacking a depth that would have added an authenticity to their motives and actions, with the exception of Justin. Justin was a fully realized child, and everything about him seemed authentic and pure to me, and Professor Bradshaw was at his best when he was interacting with his son.

I liked the mystery that was central to the story. I thought that it was a unique murder to solve, and given my woeful lack of any kind of scientific knowledge, I certainly would have never been able to guess how the murder was done, which is a plus for a murder mystery, in my opinion. I did suspect the murderer, but only because the author eliminated every other possible suspect in some fashion. I certainly did not suspect the murderer due to any clues that would have lead me to know the killer's identity.

So I sort of liked A Spark of Death, but it did feel a like it needed a little more fleshing out, a little more polish, a little more development (character development in particular). I would definitely be interested in reading a second Professor Bradshaw mystery, but I suspect that's due more to my love of the University of Washington than to my love of Professor Bradshaw. But I do hope that through future books I will come to love him, too.
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