No Cure for the Dead: A Florence Nightingale Mystery

Christine Trent. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-68331-544-5

In 1853, soon after Florence Nightingale, the heroine of this disappointing series launch from Trent (Lady of Ashes), becomes the superintendent of the Establishment for Gentlewomen during Temporary Illness in London, she stumbles on the body of nurse Caroline Bellamy hanging in the library. Although Caroline appears to have committed suicide, Florence has her doubts. As Florence works to bring her often insolent and slovenly staff into line and establish proper nursing procedures, she faces demanding administrators; eccentric patients and their challenging relatives; and attacks on herself, an errand boy, and the facility’s librarian. When a prominent member of one of the Establishment’s governing committees turns up dead, Florence is under increasing pressure to discover details about Caroline’s secret life, unmask the perpetrator, preserve her position, and save the Establishment’s reputation. Anachronisms, stilted presentation, awkward introductions of historical information, and a disorganized plot fail to convince. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (May)