Sunday, April 1, 2018

Review: The Doctor of Broad Street by Katherine Tansley

The Doctor of Broad Street: a Victorian tale of murder and mystery
Based upon the true events - the cholera outbreak in Soho, London , 1854. This plausible and well told story takes place of the course of the outbreak (approximately three weeks).

The Broad Street cholera outbreak was a severe outbreak of cholera that occurred in 1854 near Broad Street in the Soho district of London. This outbreak, which killed 616 people, is best known for the physician John Snow's study of its causes and his hypothesis that contaminated water from the public water pump on Broad Street, not air, was the source of cholera. This discovery came to influence public health and the construction of improved sanitation facilities beginning in the mid-19th century. 

Our fictional narrator, Dr Frank Roberts, during the course of an investigation into a vicious attack on a young girl, discovers the city in the throes of a cholera outbreak. He enlists the aid of the real Dr John Snow, as the source of the outbreak is being narrowed down to one particular area.  In the midst of this dual investigation (the crime and the epidemic), we get a vivid insight into the living conditions of the local people and the battles with local bureaucracy (Parish Board of Guardians) and even local medical experts of the day (with their competing schools of thought) when Snow attempts to have the source of contamination removed.

For further reading on this subject:

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