by Julie Chibbaro

Price at time of review: $16.99
293 pp.
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
New York, NY
ISBN: 9780689857386

Grade Level: 9-12

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

This accurate biographical portrait of Typhoid Mary focuses on the methodology used by scientists of the time to track and identify the source of the infection. There are also good connections between science and societal problems in the narrative, especially the roles that immigrants played during her time. It's a book that good readers from middle school through adult will find riveting.

The protagonist works in a laboratory, and her investigations are based on a "germ theory" that wasn't universally accepted at the time. Mary Mallon, the cook who has historically been identified as the source of much of the contagion in the typhoid epidemic, believes that the suspicions about her role are simply based on prejudice against immigrants since the ideas of germs and contagion are not common in her community.

This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Book has been described as an "early 20th Century CSI." Young mystery fans will learn a lot of science as they enjoy the drama.

Review posted on 1/24/2012

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