The Edison Effect
by Bernadette Pajer
on Tour at Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours October 1-31, 2014
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: 09/09/2014
Number of Pages: 254
Series: 4th Professor Bradshaw Mystery | each is a Stand Alone novel
Inventor Thomas Alva Edison is a ruthless businessman,intent on advancing General Electric and beating all rivals like Nikola Tesla and Westinghouse. Edison has agents in place in Seattle but he’s come himself in pursuit of a mysterious invention lost in 1901 in Elliott Bay. When Edison asks for information, few refuse. But not University of Washington Professor Benjamin Bradshaw who’s earned a reputation as a private investigator where science—electricity—is concerned. Bradshaw hopes that the lost device, one conceived in anger by an anarchist and harnessed for murder, will elude Edison’s hired divers.
Then one December morning in 1903, the Bon Marché’s Department Store electrician is found dead in the Men’s Wear Window clutching a festoon of Edison’s new holiday lights. Bradshaw believes Edison has set a dangerous game in motion. Motives multiply as the dead man’s secrets surface alongside rivalries at the Bon Marché. Bradshaw, his sleuthing partner Henry Pratt, and the Seattle PD’s Detective O’Brien pursue leads, but none spark Bradshaw’s intuition. His heart is not in the investigation but in a courtship that will force him to defy his Catholic faith or lose his beloved, Missouri. Then a crossroads in the case forces him to face his personal fears and his first professional failure. Whatever the outcomes, his life is about to change….
Read an excerpt:
Here’s what on her Amazon page: “Bernadette Pajer is the author of the Professor Bradshaw Mysteries, fast-paced whodunits in the Golden-Age tradition. The books in the series have earned the Seal of Approval for Science from the Washington Academy of Sciences (established 1898.) She’s a graduate of the University of Washington and a proud member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Northwest Science Writers, and the Seattle7Writers.org. Research is Pajer’s favorite activity, and she happily delves into Seattle’s past and the early days of electrical invention as she plots Professor Bradshaw’s investigations. Pajer lives in the Seattle area with her husband and son.”
Q&A with Bernadette Pajer
Writing and Reading:
-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
While nothing in my Professor Bradshaw series was taken directly from my personal experiences or current events, the emotional threads of the stories are extrapolated from all I’ve lived and felt, and there are themes that reflect today’s issues. In A SPARK OF DEATH, for instance, the anarchists of that time are much like terrorists today, vulnerable young men going to extreme and lethal measures in pursuit of their goals.
-Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I always know where I’m going when I begin, but I leave room for discovery in the writing process and will change course if the story will benefit. Mysteries have complex structures, with details layered in such a way that, not only are the sleuth’s deductions learned, the reader is invited to make guesses and participate in the unfolding of the crime. This requires me to know in advance the details of what, how, and why the crime was committed so that the reader and sleuth can be provided with clues.
-Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
Most of the words land on the page during the hours my son is at school or otherwise happily occupied. But I think about writing all the time. I plot and scheme and imagine scenes while cleaning house, driving, pretty much whenever my brain isn’t required to focus on something else.
-Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love Ruth Rendell, Dick Francis, Elizabeth George. I enjoy rereading old favorites from authors like Maeve Binchy and Rosamund Pilcher and the classics. My choice often depends on my mood or what I’m currently writing myself. To find a new title to dive into, I know I can’t go wrong by choosing one of the more than sixty authors who are fellow members of the Seattle7Writers.org, and of course my own publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, releases several excellent mysteries month. Oh, so many books, so little time!
-What are you reading now?
I’m listening to a Ruth Rendell (with Chief Inspector Wexford) audio book, and rereading John Grisham’s THE FIRM to study the pacing.
–Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m beginning to do research for the fifth Professor Bradshaw novel which will jump to 1907 when the grounds of the University of Washington were being prepared for the 1909 AYP (Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition.) This was a massive world’s fair in Seattle and the preparations disrupted university life for two years. I’m also working on a contemporary thriller (thus the study of Grisham’s pacing), which is new for me. Thrillers are constructed differently than mysteries, and it will be a fun challenge for me to structure the plot so as to escalate the tension. This is done in mysteries, too, but in thrillers it’s accomplished with more action and with the evil villain’s identity usually known from the beginning.
-Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
I get asked this a lot, and you know, I really have no actors in mind for any of the characters. Yet, although he looks nothing like my Professor, I would be happy if Benedict Cumberbatch played Bradshaw. He’s such a brilliant, versatile actor, I’m sure he could bring my Professor to life.
-Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Keyboard. I occasionally jot notes, but those become messy and I end up typing them into my files. I currently use Scrivener, a program that helps organize research materials, plot, characters, and keeps them at your fingertips while writing.
-Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Besides reading, you mean? I love cozy evenings at home with my husband and son, watching a good movie (these days the movie has Marvel characters or Transformers).
Any meal I don’t have to plan, prepare, or clean up after.
* Bernadette Pajer photo credit Alex Rae Photography