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  • Location: Coventry

A Quiet Contagion

A Quiet Contagion

Why a Booktrail?

1957: Inspired by the 1957 Coventry polio epidemic

  • ISBN: 978-0857308498
  • Genre: Crime, Inspired by true events

What you need to know before your trail

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 in utter disbelief, 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?

Travel Guide

The Coventry polio epidemic of 1957

In the summer of 1957, Coventry became the subject of national attention when an outbreak of polio struck the city. There had been a shortage of the new polio vaccine and so many children had not been vaccinated. Worse, the Ministry of Health refused to divert vaccine from other areas with no outbreak to help deal with the crisis, or even to import extra supplies from abroad.

The media jumped on government incompetence  and it was deemed to be both a local and national tragedy. Sadly relevant today.

Booktrailer Review

What a read!

The author has written a novel about the very real polio epidemic that ravaged the UK back in 1957. Having lived through COVID quite recently, this novel really haunted me. The processes, the fear, the reactions to the outbreak and vaccines was shockingly familiar so I take my hat off to Jane for creating this so well in the book.

This book is about so much more than polio – it looks at medical ethics and the consequences of something that happens and how we can try and put that right. And what happens when we don’t or can’t.

There’s a real human element to the story too and the two timelines of 1957 and 2017 merge to give a picture across the ages of how we react when something like a pandemic or medical crisis hits.

This is an ethical and moral mystery and a very interesting read.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: A Quiet Contagion

Destination: Coventry  Author/guide: Jane Jesmond Departure Time: 1957

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