Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Comes a Time for Burning-Steven F. Havill

Comes a Time for Burning
Steven F. Havill
Poisoned Pen, Feb 1 2011, $24.95
ISBN 9781590588277

In 1892 in Port McKinney, Washington, healthy twentyish Lucy Levine, who works at the Clarissa Hotel, becomes very ill. Clinic Dr. Lucius Hardy asks his former medical school crony Dr. Thomas Parks to join him. Parks is confused by Lucy’s her symptoms and the speed in which her condition worsens. They are distraught when everything they try fails as Lucy dies. A second female Flora Snider has the illness and others like Lucy’s boyfriend logger Ben probably do too.

Hardy and Parks inform Constable Aldrich that the Asian Cholera has attacked the village and that tClarissa must be quarantined. The disease spreads like a wildfire overwhelming the helpless doctors. Parks panicked over the safety of his wife and newborn; yet curious as to the origin.

The second Parks historical medical thriller (see Race for the Dying) is a great tale that focuses on the state of medicine in rural Puget Sound in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The cast makes the tale as the doctors struggle to contain an epidemic that threatens the village and nearby towns, but the impact on everyone is deeply felt by the audience. Steven F. Havill’s series is a strong saga worth reading.

Harriet Klausner

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