Friday 19 January 2024

Murder at Merewood Hospital by Michelle Salter


The patients survived the Great War only to face a new danger…

In 1916, Sister Helen Hopgood was sent with a team of nurses to care for wounded soldiers at Merewood Farm, a temporary military hospital in Hampshire.

Now the war is over, only five patients remain – and she is the only nurse. The last ward must close, and Helen is doing all she can to find new homes for the injured servicemen.

Joseph Wintringham has to sell the farm to keep Merewood Manor. But since the murder of Nurse Taplin, locals believe the place is cursed - perhaps by the doomed nurse or by the patients who perished from their war wounds.

Is the hospital haunted? Or is someone very real behind the unnatural deaths that begin on Midsummer’s Night 1919?

Can Helen discover the truth before it’s too late..?

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Murder at Merehood Hospital is a dark and twisty mystery full of tension. The hospital is populated with so many flawed characters that it is impossible to decide who could be the killer and until the last suspenseful moment, I had absolutely no idea.

Tension and menace build slowly but steadily right from the very beginning. The unsolved murder of Nurse Taplin is at the forefront of everyone's minds and this is quickly followed by nasty pranks and murder. There is a sense that something bad could happen at any moment. There are no cute, quirky characters in this book or have an obvious villain. Everyone is flawed and one or two are quite unlikeable. I suspected every single person at various stages including Sister Helen Hopgood.

The final scenes where everything starts to become clearer are intensely suspenseful and dramatic. I couldn't put it down.

Helen was a great character. Independent and smart. There is a little bit of a romantic element in her storyline as two men are interested in her. I didn't particularly care for either of them as neither seemed to be worthy of her. I loved the ending and the decisions that Helen made for her future. 

Michelle Salter writes historical cosy crime set in Hampshire, where she lives, and inspired by real-life events in 1920s Britain. The first book in her Iris Woodmore series,
Death at Crookham Hall, draws on her interest in the aftermath of the Great War and the suffragette movement.

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