It was not his fault if a nurse was so ill-bred as to get herself murdered... — Josephine Bell, Murder in Hospital 30A nurse found strangled in a hospital laundry launches the first mystery novel of Josephine Bell and the debut of series sleuth Dr. David Wintringham. In Murder in Hospital Wintringham, medical registrar at St. Edmund's Hospital, sees disquieting occurrences in cases featuring star physician Sir Frank Jamieson; soon the instances of patients who have inexplicably died assume far greater significance. Enlisting fellow physicians Richard Williams, Rachel Ludwick, and Tony Hutchings to chase down details among patients, staff, doctors, and students, Wintringham begins to uncover a more sinister pattern and comes face to face with a serial killer.
In this book Bell has interesting things to say about medical ethics, race relations, and the position of women in medicine and has a fine sense of irony. The New York Times deemed the method of murder too difficult for readers to grasp, but I did not find it so. Readers may appreciate the following comment by the highly starched hospital matron: "... I should have thought you could have got all you want out of modern novels. I find most of them so full of sex as to be quite unreadable" (179). Sadly, Murder in Hospital is out of print.
Detection Club member and British Crime Writers Association cofounder Josephine Bell (aka Doris Bell Collier Ball, 1897–1987) was a physician before she became a full-time writer in 1954. She published more than 60 books over the course of her long career. Well-regarded novels include The Port of London Murders (1938), Death in Clairvoyance (1949), and New People at the Hollies (1961). She contributed an essay to Michael Gilbert's Crime in Good Company (1959).