Deadly: How Do You Catch an Invisible Killer?

Written by Julie Chibbaro
Review by Nancy Castaldo

How much do you know about Typhoid Mary? Like many of us, you may believe the myth that Mary went around in New York City, purposely killing people with the typhoid virus. Julie Chibbaro presents a more historic view of Typhoid Mary and, more importantly, the scientific mystery that was solved by Mr. George Soper, Sanitary Engineer with the city’s Department of Health and Sanitation.

It’s a fascinating look at the puzzle, and Chibbaro lets us work through it with her character, 16-year-old Prudence Galewski. Through Prudence’s eyes we get a glimpse of the issues facing women and immigrants and science in 1907. Prudence bucks the system and quits her finishing school to become Mr. Soper’s assistant. A victim herself of discrimination, she becomes caught up in the accusation of Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant, who hasn’t been sick a day in her life and is claiming her own victimization.

Readers who love novels in diary form will thoroughly enjoy Chibbaro’s novelization complete with sketches. Chibbaro does a great job of presenting the science, which will fascinate readers who also enjoyed The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and Charles and Emma.