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A Quiet Contagion

Jane Jesmond



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Verve Books
01 February 2024
Six decades. Seven people. One unspeakable secret.

1957. A catastrophe occurs at the pharmaceutical lab in Coventry where sixteen-year-old Wilf is working for the summer. A catastrophe that needs to be covered up at all costs.

2017. Phiney is shocked by the death of her grandfather, Wilf, who has jumped from a railway bridge at a Coventry station. Journalist Mat Torrington is the only witness.

Left with a swarm of unanswered questions, Phiney, Mat and Wilf's wife, Dora, begin their own enquiries into Wilf's death. It is soon clear that these two events, sixty years apart, are connected - and that Wilf is not the only casualty.

But what is the link? And can they find out before any more lives are lost?

A Quiet Contagion is a powerfully disquieting mystery for modern times, inspired by the 1957 Coventry polio epidemic and the 1955 Cutter Incident (one of the worst pharmaceutical disasters in US history - which saw thousands of American children mistakenly infected with a live polio vaccine) as well as the more recent global coronavirus pandemic.


'An original voice in crime fiction' - Sunday Times on Cut Adrift (A Best Crime Novel of 2023)

'Jesmond's delineation of her characters as people with plausible flaws and hot tempers adds depth and complexity to a story that might wear its sentiments on its sleeves, yet which is trimly steered and freighted with contemporary resonance' - Times on Cut Adrift (Thriller Book of the Month)

'In an over-saturated market, finding a new voice with something compelling to say in the crime writing field can be difficult. Thankfully there are people out there trying to deliver a twist on the genre, and Jane Jesmond is one of them' - On Yorkshire Magazine on Cut Adrift

Imprint:   Verve Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm, 
ISBN:   9780857308498
ISBN 10:   0857308491
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jane Jesmond writes crime, thriller and mysteries. Her debut novel, On The Edge, the first in a series featuring dynamic, daredevil protagonist Jen Shaw was a Sunday Times Crime Fiction best book. The second in the series, Cut Adrift, will be published in February 2023, and A Quiet Contagion, an unsettling historical mystery for modern times, in November 2023. Although she loves writing (and reading) thrillers and mysteries, her real life is very quiet and unexciting. Dead bodies and dangerous exploits are not a feature! She lives by the sea in the northwest tip of France with a husband and a cat and enjoys coastal walks and village life. Unlike her daredevil protagonist, she is terrified of heights!

Reviews for A Quiet Contagion

A well written story, with excellently created characters. This blend of history and contemporary, fact and fiction is original and engrossing * Mature Times * Jesmond's thriller incorporates a very likeable protagonist and a really twisty plot with a thought-provoking moral dilemma -- John Williams * Mail on Sunday * An original and absorbing thriller that casts light on a little-known part of our history. Authentic characters, great pace, and a captivating storyline that still resonates powerfully today -- Sarah Clarke A novel that will keep you gripped to the final page -- Promoting Crime Fiction An original and moving mystery, deftly weaving between past and present to examine a profoundly ethical question that is still deeply relevant today -- Philippa East

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