Death at the Plague Museum is the third in Lesley Kelly’s Health of Strangers series and I think it’s best yet! Each book has a self contained main plot so you can easily read this as a standalone, but I definitely recommend that you get a hold of the others too so you’ll know more about the characters.
If you haven’t read the other books, the main thing you need to know is that the UK is in the aftermath of a pandemic, simply known as The Virus Everyone must carry a green card proving ID and health which allows access to healthcare, social services, businesses, physical access to buildings and so on. In short, without a green card it’s almost impossible to live your day to day life. Everyone has to have a monthly health check and if you miss it, you are a defaulter and can expect a visit from one of the Health Enforcement Team. Mona and Bernard are the standout characters in the North Edinburgh HET and I just think they are superb creations. Neither particularly seem to enjoy the job but they do it conscientiously none the less. I have a particular soft spot for Bernard. Nothing ever quite seems to go his way whether work related or in his private life.
In this book, there has been a clandestine meeting between a high ranking government official and three senior civil servants who are all involved in Virus policy. Within days, two of the civil servants are dead and the third is missing. Since the third has now missed her health check, Mona and Bernard are tasked with tracking her down and soon become embroiled in perilous situations. And they need to try to solve the case before word reaches the press and panic ensues among the general public.
I raced through this and thoroughly enjoyed it. Lesley Kelly has again written an addictive tale that I found really gripping. I love the idea of a Plague Museum which used to be little known, but is suddenly of great interest in a post viral world.
Although a thriller, there is a lot of Lesley Kelly’s trademark dry humour in the book, particularly in the banter between characters. This particular description of two of the characters had me spluttering with laughter:
‘But until now, she’d never seen them murderously angry in unison. With Paterson puce of face and Sputtle spectral white, it was as if a bar of coconut ice had become sentient, and decided it was one pissed off piece of confectionery.’
Throughout the book, secrets are uncovered involving people in high places with great influence. There was an unexpected ending which had me gasping in shock and sending a message to the author asking ‘What have you done??’. Roll on book 4 in the series – Murder at the Music Factory. I, for one, can’t wait to read more about Mona and Bernard and the rest of the Health Enforcement Team.
My thanks to Ceris at Sandstone Press for inviting me to take part in the blogtour and for my review copy of the book. Death at the Plague Museum is available now in paperback and ebook formats. You should be able to find this at your usual book retailer or can find various buying options on the publishers website: Death at the Plague Museum
From the back of the book
Three senior civil servants are dead or missing. As their brief is management of the deadly Virus, Bernard, Mona and the rest of the hard-pressed Health Enforcement Team are fighting not just a pandemic, but government secrets.
About the author
Lesley Kelly has worked in the public and voluntary sectors for the past twenty years, dabbling in poetry and stand-up comedy along the way. She has won a number of writing competitions, including the Scotsman’s Short Story award in 2008. Her first novel, A Fine House in Trinity, was long-listed for the McIlvanney Prize.
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