A professor becomes a suspect in a shocking 1901 murder.
Ever since his mentally unstable wife committed suicide at a dinner party, Prof. Benjamin Bradshaw has devoted himself to bringing up his son Justin. He’s moved to Seattle, settled at the University of Washington and hired the competent Mrs. Prouty as a housekeeper. Now his life may be ruined by the murder of his colleague Prof. Oglethorpe, a man he had no cause to like. Oglethorpe was found electrocuted, apparently by a machine built in a university lab that was soon to be used in a demonstration for President McKinley. Bradshaw is certain that he must solve the murder to save his own life. His task is made both more difficult and more likely to be successful by Oglethorpe’s unpopularity. His students despised him, his wife secretly did much of his work, and he was involved in a dishonest business deal with Henry Pratt, a friend of Bradshaw’s who left for Alaska on the day of the murder. When Henry’s niece, Missouri Fremont, arrives on the scene shortly after her uncle’s departure, Bradshaw, feeling compelled to take her in, finds himself strongly attracted to her. Getting pushed almost to his death on a visit to the Snoqualmie Falls Power Plant redoubles his efforts to find the killer.
Pajer’s series kickoff presents a good mystery, a clever detective and a fascinating look at the early days of electrical power.