Title: A Murderous Malady
Author: Christine Trent
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publish Date: May 7, 2019
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "The London summer of
1854 is drawing to a close when a deadly outbreak of cholera grips the
city. Florence Nightingale is back on the scene marshaling her nurses to
help treat countless suffering patients at Middlesex Hospital as the
disease tears through the Soho slums. But beyond the dangers of the
disease, something even more evil is seeping through the ailing streets
It begins with an attack on the carriage of Florence’s
friend, Elizabeth Herbert, wife to Secretary at War Sidney Herbert.
Florence survives, but her coachman does not. Within hours, Sidney’s
valet stumbles into the hospital, mutters a few cryptic words about the
attack, and promptly dies from cholera. Frantic that an assassin is
stalking his wife, Sidney enlists Florence’s help, who accepts but has
little to go on save for the valet’s last words and a curious set of
dice in his jacket pocket. Soon, the suspects are piling up faster than
cholera victims, as there seems to be no end to the number of people who
bear a grudge against the Herbert household.
Now, Florence is in
a race against time—not only to save the victims of a lethal disease,
but to foil a murderer with a disturbingly sinister goal—in A Murderous Malady."
My Two Cents:
In "A Murderous Malady," Florence Nightingale is still tending to the sick with her incomparable nursing skills but she is also solving the mystery of the attempted murder of her dear friend. She is secure in her medical skills but she isn't sure where to start with solving the mystery offered up to her. Add to this that a massive cholera outbreak has just hit London. Can Florence handle it all?
This is the second book in Christine Trent's Florence Nightingale Mystery series. I have not read the first book. I think "A Murderous Malady" works pretty well as a stand alone. I think that perhaps reading the first book may have given a little more insight into some of the secondary characters in the second book, which would have been nice to have. More importantly, I loved Florence and I would love to get to know her better through the first book even though you really do get a good sense of her in this book.
I loved the idea of Florence Nightingale as a detective of sorts. This book takes place before she went to be a nurse in the Crimean War. She throws herself into the mystery of her friend's attempted murder but she also throws herself into helping people hurt by the cholera outbreak, which so badly affected so many people. We get to see how Nightingale is the definition of grace under pressure.
The writing of this book was good. The beginning started with a bang and then slowed a bit but it had a satisfying ending. I loved all of the details that the author included. You have a really nice mix between a good mystery and a lot of solid scene-setting in the form of good detail about London at a particularly volatile time. The details of how everyone was handling the cholera outbreak as it spread was particularly good. I loved how the author was able to weave everything all together.