The Ballad of Typhoid Mary
FEDERSPEIL, J F
No. of pages:
In the early morning hours of January 11, 1868, a ship emerged from the whirling snow outside New York Harbour and remained unnoticed by the harbour authorities until after she had violated the three-mile limit.
Many thanks to bodesoda for running a BookRing with this one which appealed to me in a strange, romantic way. I know (or should that be 'knew'?) nothing about Typhoid Mary and think I will now spend many hours trying to work out which parts of this book are fiction and which grounded in fact. Federspeil has woven magic with this book although I found the sub-plot of the narrator's asides interruptions rather than valued additions - and that's why I'm scoring it 9/10 and not 10/10.
This is the story of a woman known as Mary Mallon or, popularly, Typhoid Mary. We first meet her as a young girl aboard an immigrant ship entering New York Harbour. She is smuggled past immigration control by, of all people, a Doctor who becomes her first victim. And so Mary travels around New York City working as a cook and moving on when Typhoid strikes. There are happy times, romance and adventure in her life but the whole is tinged with a haunting sadness. This really was a time when life was 'brutish and short.'
I would read more by this author and recommend this book to others.