Sunday, July 8, 2018

No Cure for the Dead by Christine Trent

I recently read No Cure for the Dead by Christine Trent. This was interesting to me because the main character is Florence Nightingale. You know her. The founder of modern nursing. I have always been interested in biographies in addition to mysteries. I am fairly familiar with Florence Nightingale, being a nurse. Nurse's Day is celebrated every year on her birthday, May 12. Graduating nurses still recite her pledge. 

This book is the first book in Christina Trent's new Florence Nightingale Mysteries.


Here's what it is about: 

"When a young nurse dies on her watch, Florence Nightingale must uncover the deep-hidden secrets someone will kill to keep buried.

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."

My thoughts: I liked the book. Lots of twists and turns, well written, keeps you interested. I recognized several of the background information is based on fact. Florence was from an affluent family, expected to marry well and be wife, had a suitor who waited and waited and waited for her. But Florence chose to become a nurse and train others to be professional nurses. She did serve as superintendent at the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen as her character in the book does. Many of the other names and characters are also based on fact. Also the description of women who called themselves nurses in the mid 1800's is accurate. Not exactly the cream of the crop. Here are the rules for nurses in 1887, probably highly influenced by Florence Nightingale.

In addition to caring for your 50 patients, each bedside nurse will follow these regulations:
1. Daily sweep and mop the floors of your ward, dust the patient’s furniture and window sills.
2. Maintain an even temperature in your ward by bringing in a scuttle of coal for the day’s business.
3. Light is important to observe the patient’s condition. Therefore, each day fill kerosene lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks.
4. The nurse’s notes are important in aiding your physician’s work. Make your pens carefully; you may whittle nibs to your individual taste.
5. Each nurse on day duty will report every day at 7 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m., except on the Sabbath, on which day she will be off from 12 noon to 2 p.m.
6. Graduate nurses in good standing with the director of nurses will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if you go regularly to church.
7. Each nurse should lay aside from each payday a goodly sum of her earnings for her benefits during her declining years, so that she will not become a burden. For example, if you earn $30 a month, you should set aside $15.
8. Any nurse who smokes, uses liquor in any form, gets her hair done at a beauty shop or frequents dance halls will give the director of nurses good reason to suspect her worth, intentions and integrity.
9. The nurse who performs her labors [and] serves her patients and doctors faithfully and without fault for a period of five years will be given an increase by the hospital administration of five cents per day.

I found it very interesting how the author took so many of Florence's factual life and turn it in to a good mystery. I am looking forward to the next in the series. 

No comments:

Post a Comment