Chickahominy Fever

Written by Ann McMillan
Review by Alice Logsdon

In June 1862, the city of Richmond, Virginia, is surrounded by the Union army. A letter to Jefferson Davis, outlining the location of Confederate troops, is smuggled away from his home in Richmond. Across town, Narcissa Powers, a nurse at Chimborazo Hospital, listens sympathetically to a coworker’s story of loved ones fallen in battle. Later, when a patient on her ward disappears, Narcissa senses that something isn’t quite right. But any investigation into these circumstances must wait until she recovers from a sudden case of malaria. Meanwhile, an abandoned black infant is discovered in a local cemetery, prompting Judah Daniel, a free, black midwife and Narcissa’s friend, to search for the mother. Judah also has information about the smuggled letter that could prove to be deadly. It takes a good amount of skill to merge so many detailed plots without losing all control, or sacrificing the credibility of the whole. That Ann McMillan does so is all that needs to be said about this excellent mystery.