Friday 2 April 2021

Book Review: The Plague Letters by V.L Valentine

I am delighted to be on the tour for The Plague Letters by V.L. Valentine today, thanks to the lovely people at Viper Books. This is a brilliant historical murder mystery around the time of a very different plague, but one that still resonates keenly today. Read on for my full review.


It's London in the year of 1665 and the plague is rife and spreading. Thousands of inhabitants are dying, but not all are infected. In amongst the deceased is a woman that doesn't look like the rest. Shaved head, ties on her wrists and markings that don't match up with the plague symptoms. Rector Symon Patrick has joined a group of medical men to help find a cure for the plague, so when he discovers the woman that looks out of place amongst the dead he can't help but think something is afoot. Which one of the medical men is doing his own secret experiments upon unwilling victims....?

Past stories of the plague hit a lot harder now than they used to! I used to read about it and think how unlikely it would be to happen again, but wham here we are. I think this makes reading about it all the more morbidly intriguing and how we clearly never learn. Plus the interspersed map of London throughout the book as the plague spreads was a brilliant and shocking addition.

When Symon comes across Penelope and saves her from the brink of death, she becomes an unexpected investigator into what is really going on. Thank goodness for Penelope as Symon is such a wet character. I really wanted to shake some sense into him. Penelope on the other hand takes no fools gladly. The medical men on the other hand, argh what a bunch of infuriating idiots, no wonder the plague spread so quickly if men like that were in charge of finding a cure. 

What I really liked in the Plague Letters and was a pleasant surprise, was the unexpected dark humour throughout. When I picked this up, I really didn't expect to be laughing at some of the scenes and the idiocy of some the characters, it made it an enjoyable read at the times and not always one of shock and horror (which can be equally 'enjoyable' but in a different way).

Overall a brilliant whodunnit laced with brilliantly dark humour.

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