THE BLACK DEATH by Gwyneth & John S. Mart Cravens
Kirkus Star


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Another commercial cry-havoc replay of what happens after one of the next-to-last-to-come disasters, namely the plague (Yersinia pestis). It hits New York City when a rich girl, whose identity is only later revealed, is taken to Metropolitan Hospital to die. This is then a day by day, and victim by corpse, account of the siege which coincides with a sanitation strike and other uglier manifestations of urban life. The Bureau of Preventable Diseases' Dr. St. John does his best, even though it's some time before the organism is isolated and undue alarm is contraindicated. St. John works around the clock, swallowing his prophylactic tetracycline, but he still comes down with the disease which spreads all over town. He wakes up some days later to find that there's little left of the city except the rats which carry the fleas which carry the . . . . With troubled authority, Washington tries to decide whether or not to use a pesticide (nerve gas) to complete the decontamination. On the side--consider St. John's condition-- there's his romance with a young Puerto Rican woman, Dolores. . . . A little editing might have made a better book, which won't affect the outcome. Every symptom is that it will be widely catching.

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 1976
Publisher: Dutton