Fever by Mary Beth Keane

This is the story of Mary Mallon.  She was a woman who arrived in New York a poor young Irish immigrant with no skills.  Through hard work, and a strong personality, she elevated her position from laundress to head cook in good households throughout the city.  Her food was well received as was her care for the ill.  It was a surprise to the families, and Mary herself, to find out that she was a healthy carrier of a deadly disease.  Mary Mallon was Typhoid Mary.

This is the story of an ordinary woman trying to make a living in hard times that is stalked and harassed by a doctor telling her that she is making people sick.  Mary doesn’t believe him, nor do many of her friends and acquaintances, because the idea is just too hard to comprehend.  Mary isn’t sick so how can she make others sick through cooking?  And can Mary stop cooking when she is making a salary many times that of a laundress?

A very human face is put to the woman who was given the infamous moniker.