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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

No Cure For the Dead - Christine Trent

No Cure For the Dead by Christine Trent

First Paragraph(s):

Some said I must have been possessed by a demon to take on the position as superintendent at the Establishment for Gentlewomen During Temporary Illness.  On exhausting days like this, I was in total agreement.
     Shaking out my hat and gloves on the stoop outside the Establishment, I determined that the smuts swirling through the London air in a never-ending cloud of ebony flakes were the most repellent thing I'd ever encountered.  They say it's even worse once winter sets in.  I had been out for a mere hour to visit my family's banker, and in my short walk to and fro had accumulated enough coal dust in my hat and on my gloves and shoulders to form a diamond.

My Thoughts:

No Cure For the Dead is the first book in Christine Trent's new series featuring Florence Nightingale and I enjoyed it so much!  You can read about how I acquired it and met the author at the Malice Domestic Mystery Conference here.  I used to read more historical mysteries, but have not picked up very many in recent years.  However, I was quite interested in hearing about them at the mystery conference.  And as I have a daughter who has been a nurse for 13 years, I've heard a lot about nursing as a profession.  This book was fascinating in so many ways.  It also contains an extensive 'author note' at the end to explain more.

I think sometimes we forget how very differently nurses were viewed in the 19th century.  They were considered the dregs of society for the most part and no 'decent' woman would consider calling herself a Nurse.  Florence Nightingale changed all that.  No Cure For the Dead takes place before the Crimean War and before Miss Nightingale changed nursing forever.  In this book, she has recently become the Superintendent of a sort of hospital for women.  Right away, there are problems and a dead body.  As Florence tries to formulate how she will train her staff to measure up to her standards for nursing, she is also investigating that death.  Lots of things happen - accidents - or not.  Christine Trent has included a wealth of info regarding healthcare in the Victorian Age, some of it quite odd.  As I said, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with the characters and the setting.  And I'll be watching for the second book, while also checking out the author's other series - first book is Lady of the Ashes.  Recommended. 

Blurb:

It is 1853. Lady of the Lamp Florence Nightingale has just accepted the position of Superintendent of the Establishment for Gentlewomen During Temporary Illness in London. She has hardly had time to learn the names of the nurses in her charge when she suddenly finds one of them hanging in the Establishment’s library. Her name was Nurse Bellamy.

Florence’s mettle is tested by the dual goals of preserving what little reputation her hospital has and bringing Nurse Bellamy’s killer to justice. Her efforts are met with upturned noses and wayward glances except for her close friend and advocate inside the House of Commons, Sidney Herbert. As Florence digs deeper, however, her attention turns to one of the hospital investors and suddenly, Sidney becomes reluctant to help.

With no one but herself to count on, Florence must now puzzle out what the death of an unknown, nondescript young nurse has to do with conspiracies lurking about at the highest levels of government before she’s silenced too.

24 comments:

  1. Can't wait to read this one, since my daughter is an M.A. though not an R.N. I helped her study when in school, so I got to learn a bit about medical care.

    I read a couple of Christine Trent's older series-- Lady of Ashes and Stolen Remains. What an eye opener about the funeral business back in those days! I learned of her from another author who gave her a thumbs up, I think it was Anna Lee Huber who writes the fantastic Lady Darby series; I've read them all!

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    1. I also read Lady of Ashes. My review for that one will be up on Thursday, I think. I liked it as well and want to read the other books in the series. Yes, Christine Trent writes about some interesting things. Her research must be fascinating, if a bit grim. Ha!

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  2. I downloaded a sample to my Kindle and am waiting for the library to order copies. Sounds like the start of a great series.

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    1. Oh, I'm glad you guys are ordering it. My library has a few copies too, though I've shared mine with another mystery group member.

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  3. This one sounds interesting--I love learning through fiction. I've read a few other books with Florence Nightingale as an off-the-page influence, but none with her as a main character.

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    1. Florence was a good main character and I think this author's portrayal of her seemed accurate. I really liked the book.

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  4. I'm never very enthusiastic about books that use real people as fictional detectives, but I liked the first paragraph - nice decription of London's polluted air in that era...

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    1. Yes, I know what you mean about using real people as characters. I think this author did her research though, so the portrayal is likely as accurate as it might be. And the polluted air is the least of things...LOL!

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  5. I didn't realize she had a new series out! I enjoyed Lady of the Ashes. I'm glad to see Crooked Lane Books has picked up many of my favorite authors & series.

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    1. I know - I'm really liking the Crooked Lane publications that I've come across. So glad they stepped in and saved some author and series. Traditional mysteries have been in a bit of a publishing flux, right?

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  6. I really had no idea that nurses were thought of that way. From the opening blurb I was expecting some supernatural element. Surprised to hear it's about Nightingale.

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    1. No supernatural, just reality as to how medicine worked at that period of time. And, yes, nurses were not respected at that time period. Nightingale had very definite ideas about fresh air and clean things and even how the nurses under her supervision should dress and behave. She did a lot for the profession.

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  7. Reading it now. Really enjoying it. (That part we were talking about was an old wives tale and Eastern Indian remedy, btw.) In shows about Florence, she really was the first to clean up the hospitals, literally. They were filthy. She was the first to feel all that contributed to the patients health, fresh air etc.

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    1. Gayle, I'm glad you are liking it. I thought you might. I was pretty fascinated with a lot of things in the book. And yes, filthy indeed. LOL

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  8. This does sound interesting. I do sometimes have a problem with books featuring real people, but some have worked well.

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    1. I really liked this one and it seems the author researched her time and characters well.

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  9. That's interesting that the author is creating mysteries around Florence Nightingale! It will be cool to see where she goes with it.

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    1. I agree. I'm not sure if the next will take Florence out her current environment and off to the war - maybe.

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  10. Florence Nightingale! I love the sound of this series. I can't wait to read it myself.

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    1. I think you'd like this one, Wendy.

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  11. I'm so intrigued by the premise of this one and it sounds like the execution lived up to the premise! I've been loving historical mysteries lately so this sounds perfect. What fantastic authors you met at Malice Domestic!

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    1. I did get to meet some wonderful authors and, of course, that made me want to try their books. I'm having a good time with that.

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  12. Isn't it interesting how nurses' work has changed and our views on them? My mom told me that when she was little she wanted to be a nurse but was talked out of it because it wasn't a "good" profession. How crazy. Nurses deserve so much praise for their hard work. Anyway, I do want to read this series so I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. I will say that the nurses I know certainly do work hard. Yes, I think my daughter got some questions as to why she chose to be a nurse and not a doctor.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!