Sunday, June 9, 2013

Capacity for Murder-Bernadette Pajer

Capacity for Murder

Bernadette Pajer

Poisoned Pen, Jun 4 2013, $24.95

ISBN 9781464201288

In 1903 in Ocean Springs near Seattle, the Healing Sands Sanitarium has earned an esteemed reputation for restorative cures. Owner Dr. Arnold Hornsby is proud of his facility’s safety and curative records; he especially is euphoric about his invention Dr. Hornsby's electrotherapy machine that provides electrotherapeutics to patients.

When Hornsby’s son-in-law David Hollister is electrocuted in an electrotherapy machine, he asks the electrical forensic investigator State University Professor Benjamin Bradshaw to investigate the death. Bradshw concludes the machine worked properly but an anomaly means the deceased was murdered. Besides the family and staff, four patients were at the sanitarium at the time of Hollister’s death.

The latest Professor Bradshaw early twentieth century investigation (see A Spark of Death and Fatal Induction) is a super mystery in which readers obtain a close look at medical practices in the era. Fast-paced, the whodunit is top rate but it is a look at 1903 medicine (mindful of Dr. McCoy in the hospital in the movie The Voyage Home) that makes for a strong historical detective tale.

Harriet Klausner

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