Another new name to me but by no means a new author. I looked Christine Trent up and found out she is a prolific writer of historical fiction based in the Victorian era. I should not have been surprised, No Cure For The Dead is a well written book that was both engaging and intriguing.
Set in 1853 the story’s main protagonist is the 33 year old Florence Nightingale. Before her well known exploits during the Crimean War Nightingale was the Superintendent of a Women’s Establishment for Temporary Illness. A home for women suffering all sorts of illnesses both mental, and physical; imagined and actual.
It is during her time at the Establishment that this book is set. At the end of Nightingales first week she finds a young nurse hung in the library. As convinced as the police are that this is a suicide, Nightingale is equally convinced that the nurse was murdered.
Embarking on a good old fashioned mystery, in the manor of Sherlock Holmes, Nightingale investigates the crime against the threat of one of the male Committee Members wanting her removed from her post.
As the investigation takes place Nightingale gets to know her small staff, and even smaller group of patients. Each has a story, and each seems to have a reason to see the unfortunate nurse dead.
This is a proper old school murder mystery that will keep the reader guessing up to the last couple of chapters.
When I read a biographical book I often find myself hearing the voice of the subject in my head as I’m reading. That was never going to be the case with this book because I have no idea what Nightingale sounded like. However, it is a testament to the writing skills of Christine Trent that there was a voice narrating this story in my head from the first to the last word. I couldn’t place it at first but then it came to me. The upper-class tones of Jenny Agutter, specifically when she is doing the opening and closing dialogue for the TV Series Call the Midwife.
I enjoyed this book. In fact I enjoyed it a lot.
Publishers: Crooked Lane Books