Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Miss Muriel Beale, the General Nursing Council’s inspector of Nurse Training Schools, arrives at Nightingale House, a forbidding red-brick Victorian edifice. She is here to observe the third-year students’ first teaching-session of the day, but instead she faces a murder. Authorities initially called the death a suicide, or a prank gone wrong.
Someone had substituted a cream-looking disinfectant for the warm milk used in a teaching session on feeding a patient by intragastric tube. Nurse Heather Pearce, the student subject, died a painful death. Sixteen days later, Josephine Fallon, the intended target of the deadly teaching session who had been excused that day because of influenza, is poisoned in her room after a quiet evening watching television. Again, the tightknit community would like to believe her death was a suicide, not a murder.
School surgeon-consultant Dr. Courtney-Briggs repeatedly troubles local police about the murders, so they call in an inspector, Adam Dalgliesh, and his team from Scotland Yard. Dalgliesh’s method is to establish a work space in situ and begin interviewing witnesses, listening for lies, discovering relationships and discrepancies, checking motives and opportunity, and paying careful attention to time. A meticulous search uncovers the bottle of disinfectant that killed Nurse Pearce; it was found in the bushes near the nurses’s apartments.
Police then discover that Sister Ethel Brumfett,...
(The entire section is 815 words.)
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