A Murderous Malady
by Christine Trent
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Crooked Lane Books
Hardcover & eBook; 336 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
For fans of Charles Todd and Deanna Raybourn comes Christine Trent’s second Florence Nightingale mystery.
Cholera has broken out in London, but Florence Nightingale has bigger problems when people begin dying of a far more intentional cause—murder.
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 of London.
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.
About the Author
Christine Trent is the author of the Florence Nightingale Mysteries, the Lady of Ashes historical mystery series, about a Victorian-era undertaker, and three other historical novels. Christine’s novels have been translated into Turkish, Polish, and Czech. She writes from her two-story home library, where she lives with her husband, four precocious cats, a large doll collection, entirely too many fountain pens, and over 4,000 catalogued books.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, May 7
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Thursday, May 9
Guest Post at Short Book and Scribes
Saturday, May 11
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Sunday, May 12
Review at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 14
Excerpt & Giveaway at To Read, Or Not to Read
Friday, May 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Saturday, May 18
Review at Just One More Chapter
Sunday, May 19
Review, Q&A, and Giveaway at Maiden of the Pages
My anger at Sidney evaporated in a mist of curiosity. “What do you mean?” I asked.
He paused as if carefully gathering his thoughts. “Everyone has at least one event in his past that he wishes he could erase, as a schoolboy might eradicate a bad work on his sums on a chalkboard, right?”
“Yes.” Why did I have the sudden feeling I wouldn’t like what I was about to hear?
“And so did Fenton appear to have a past with gambling, a past about which I did not know. No doubt if he were alive, he would like to wipe that part of his life clean.”
“Yes,” I said again, waiting for a salient point to be made.
“I imagine even you would like to erase something from your past, Flo,” Sidney suggested, loosening his grip on the chair’s arms and templing his fingers again, a sign that he was relaxing.
Naturally I would have erased many things. The memory of Richard, for starters. Which reminded me that I still needed to decide what to do with the letter he had written me. I mentally brushed that cobweb out of the way. Time spent thinking of him could ensnare me like no organ-grinder ever could.
“Are you accusing me of something, Sidney?” I asked.
“No, no, of course not. I’m just making a point. None too well, it would seem. What I am trying to say is that I think there are secrets of the past in my own household. And although I sent Fenton into the streets in an attempt to call out whatever miscreant actually fired the shots, he would have had no capacity for calling out whoever was behind the trigger-puller.”
Sidney gazed at me steadily, and I sensed that he was trying to communicate something he could not say aloud.
For my part, I was stunned by what I believed him to be transmitting to me.
“Sidney, are you suggesting that either Liz or the General has a past so horrendous that someone paid our killer to attack the carriage?”
The moments ticked by. Finally, Sidney repeated adamantly, “Everyone has a past, Flo.”
But Liz had had no past to speak of before marrying Sidney eight years ago at the age of twenty-four. General à Court undoubtedly had a murderous past in the Army, but he wouldn’t be the instigator of a plot against his daughter. As gruff and unlikable as he was, he clearly adored his daughter.
“Sidney, can you cease being vague and mysterious for just a few moments and tell me whom you suspect to have this dangerous and illicit past?” Dealing with ailing women each day who perpetually lied to me about what they ate and drank while being transparently coy was bad enough. I had no patience for this same conduct with someone I called a friend.
He heaved another sigh. “I’m worried that it is me.”