The River of Death: A Tale of London In Peril

The River of Death: A Tale of London In Peril

by Fred Merrick White

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The River of Death: A Tale of London In Peril by Fred Merrick White

Another in the "Doom of London" series, in which the author sounds a clarion call of potential disasters that may fall upon the great city. Here he relates a tale of environmental contamination leading to a medical panic.

London in a year of severe drought; water level in the Thames river extremely low, blazing heat wave for 3 weeks in August; a Portuguese cargo ship sinks and contaminates a tributary of the Thames; 3 of the crew members are discovered to be dying of some disease; the local doctor is frightened by what he sees, calls the health authorities, who call for help from Professor Darbyshire, a scientist who deals with "fighting diseases in the bulk", someone we might call an environmental epidemiologist today; he investigates, then ... Darbyshire makes a hurried call asking his friend, Dr. Longdale, to come at once to his house where he has a small laboratory.

"Darbyshire produced a phial of cloudy fluid, some of which he proceeded to lay on the glass of a powerful microscope. Longdale fairly staggered back from the eyepiece. "Bubonic! The water reeks with the bacillus! I haven't seen it so strongly marked since we were in New Orleans together. Darbyshire, you don't mean to say that this sample came from�"

Yes, the sample was water from the contaminated Thames, the river from which roughly 4/5 of the water comes to supply the needs of the 5 million Londoners. Longdale says the water system must be shut off.

"And deprive four-fifths of London with water altogether!" Darbyshire said grimly. "And London grilling like a furnace? No flushing of sewers, no watering of roads, not even a drop to drink. In two days London would be a reeking, seething hell � try and picture it, Longdale."

"I have, often," Longdale said gloomily. "Sooner or later it had to come. Now is your chance, Darbyshire � that process of sterilisation of yours."

Will he save London? Of course � he's the hero of the story. But how? Does London panic? How do the authorities respond?

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148629658
Publisher: Hillside Publications
Publication date: 01/02/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 895 KB

About the Author

Fred Merrick White (1859-1935), a British author of many novels and short stories under the name "Fred M. White", was born in 1859 in West Bromwich, a small town near Birmingham, England. The record of his birth indicates that his first name was actually "Fred" � not, as is often assumed, "Frederick." His second name "Merrick" was the maiden name of his mother, Helen, who married his father, Joseph, in West Bromwich in the September quarter of 1858. Before becoming a full-time writer, Fred M. White followed in his father's footsteps and worked as a solicitor's clerk in Hereford. By 1891, Fred M. White, then 31 years old, was working full-time as a journalist and author. The First World War and his 2 sons' war-time experiences as junior officers in the British military evidently influenced Fred M. White's writing during and after this conflict. His novel The Seed Of Empire, published in 1916, describes some of the early trench warfare in great detail�the places and happenings are historically accurate. A number of novels published in the 1920s describe the social changes caused by the war and the difficulties of ex-soldiers in fitting back into normal civilian life. Perhaps best known for his "Doom of London" stories, in which that city experiences a series of devastating catastrophes, Fred M. White produced a huge body of short stories and novels, mainly in the genres of crime, romance and science fiction. He was an avid golfer, which shows in some of his novels, along with fly-fishing and the card game of Bridge. Fred and his wife Clara spent their final years in Barnstaple in the County of Devon, an area which provided the backdrop for his novels The Mystery Of Crocksands, The Riddle Of The Rail, and The Shadow Of The Dead Hand. He died in the December quarter of 1935; his wife died in 1940. (Source: Roy Glashan's Library From Wikipedia.

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