Race for the Dying
Thomas Parks of Connecticut, newly graduated from a prestigious medical school back East, arrives in Port McKinney, Washington in 1891 to take up a position with an old friend of his father’s. No sooner has he arrived, though, that he finds himself in the position of patient rather than physician. He was thrown off a mule while racing to assist an accident victim, and very nearly killed. His time convalescing allows him to learn more about the members of Dr. Haines’s household and staff, including Alvina Haines, Dr. Haines’s medically talented daughter, and the enigmatic Dr. Riggs, who never seems to visit the clinic or tend patients.
Port McKinney is a rough frontier town with a large lumber mill, where accidents are all too common. Thomas is a lousy patient, loathe to waste time recuperating when he could be helping at the clinic. As he begins to maneuver his way around, he becomes intrigued with the part of the medical operation that Dr. Riggs does handle, diagnosing illnesses and promoting treatments for people from all over the United States. Suspense about a murder also builds, and the converging plotlines kept this reader on the edge of her seat.
Steven F. Havill is known for his engaging mystery series set in the American Southwest. Yet in this book he shows a real flair for writing atmospheric historical novels. I hope it is just the first of many.