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Review of Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary

jarrow_fatal feverFatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary
by Gail Jarrow
Intermediate, Middle School  Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills  176 pp.
3/15      978-1-62091-597-4     $16.95

In the second book by Jarrow about a deadly disease — Red Madness was the first — she takes on typhoid. At the turn of the twentieth century, typhoid was still very much a mystery. People could distinguish the symptoms from typhus, but they didn’t know that the disease was caused by unsanitary practices — sewage leaking into drinking supplies or people not washing hands properly prior to preparing food. Typhoid outbreaks were common in those days, and sanitation engineer and “germ detective” George Soper was called in as a health consultant for a particularly severe crisis in Ithaca, New York. His fame and notoriety would eventually lead him to be called to investigate the case of Mary Mallon, nicknamed Typhoid Mary, an asymptomatic New York cook who left a trail of death and disease in her wake. Although the book is illustrated with numerous photographs, it’s the words that are the star of this show. Jarrow has written a suspenseful medical mystery for inquisitive readers. Timeline, glossary, author’s note, source notes, bibliography, and index are included among the extensive back matter.

From the March/April 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.



  1. Does anyone know the theme of the non-fiction book, ‘Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary’? I have a project due & I finished the book, but I can’t seem to know the them of it. Please help!

  2. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:


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