#BookReview: No Cure for the Dead by Christine Trent

Historical Mystery

Florence Nightingale Mystery #1

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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.

For fans of Anne Perry and Laurie R. King comes No Cure for the Dead, the rich and enthralling series debut from Christine Trent.

I have mixed feelings about Christine Trent’s No Cure for the Dead. I loved the writing, could see the research that went into the novel, and feel the author created a really entertaining whodunnit, but I struggled to appreciate the heroine and couldn’t help noticing how closely the story paralleled Trent’s earlier work.

I don’t mean to split hairs, but Florence felt too much like Violet Morgan, the heroine of Trent’s Lady of Ashes series. Much like Violet, Florence is trying to make gains in a male-dominated field. Neither woman is a professional sleuth, but both find themselves embroiled in intrigues they are compelled to solve and both put their primary careers on the backburner to do so.

In terms of atmosphere, I liked the feel of the Establishment for Gentlewomen During Temporary Illness and thought the secondary storyline more intriguing than the primary one. There are a lot of working parts to the mystery, but it culminates in a way that makes the read worthwhile.

At the end of the day, I think the story might be better suited to the mystery crowd than fans of Florence Nightingale, but there were enough details about the famed nurse to satisfy my curiosity and I’m interested to see how Trent will utilize the material in the next installment of the series.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: October 5, 2018

Some said I must have been possessed by a demon to take on the position as superintendent at the Establishement for Gentlewomen During Temporary Illness. On exhausting days like this, I was in total agreement...