Title: A Murderous Malady (Florence Nightingale Mystery #2)
Author: Christine Trent
Publication Date: 07 May 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
It’s the summer of 1854 and King Cholera is gripping the streets of London. Florence Nightingale is back on the scene to help the victims in Soho and Middlesex Hospital. She also learns that her dear friend, Liz Hubert, was attacked while on her way to the museum. Sidney, Liz’s husband, the Secretary of War, fears that his wife’s life is in danger and seeks help from Flo.
As Flo and her maid, Mary (aka Goose) walk through the cholera filled streets of Soho, Flo uncovers some dark secrets of the Herbert House.
This is the second book in the Florence Nightingale series. It covers the life of Florence Nightingale just before she left to treat the soldiers injured in the Crimean war. The story starts with Liz and her father being attacked on the streets of Soho. Flo is called in to investigate. General a` Court, Liz’s father, doesn’t want a nurse to investigate his daughter’s case but Liz and her husband, Sidney, are adamant. Soon, Flo learns that the members of Herbert House have dark secrets from their past. Was Liz the intended victim? Or, was it her father?
Sidney’s manservant dies at the beginning of the story. He mutters something about the attack before his death. Flo finds a curious set of dice in his pocket and it takes her to the slums of Soho.
The story also gives the reader a clear picture of the situation in the slums of London during the Cholera Outbreak. Overflowing public toilets and water pumps, the pathetic condition of the slum dwellers, violence and death – the reader is given more than just a glimpse of all these.
Dr John Snow, the physician who played a major role in discovering the real reason behind the Cholera outbreak, plays an important role in the story. There is also a mention or two of obstetrics anesthesia – one of John Snow’s treatments. One also gets to read about Reverend Henry Whitehead. Rev. Whitehead helped Dr Snow in making charts – charts that helped Dr Snow identify the real cause of the outbreak.
The historical facts were well researched. One also gets to read (in detail) about Florence Nightingale’s life as a nurse.
The identity of the perpetrator was unexpected and shocking! When Flo discovered the reason behind these crimes (yes, it’s not just the attack you see, I can’t reveal more without making this review a spoiler), I was in for a surprise.
I loved the story. Be it the relationship that Flo shares with Mary, or Flo’s helpful nature, or the Cholera outbreak and how it affected people, Trent has done an excellent job in keeping her readers hooked on to the story.
Though this is the second book in the series, it can be read as a standalone. A Murderous Malady is a fascinating, informative and riveting historical mystery by Christine Trent.
Thank you, Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.