In 1906, George Soper of the New York Department of Health, was asked to conduct a private investigation of an unusual typhoid outbreak in Oyster Bay New York. This fascinating look into medical detective work forms the backbone of Relentless: The Search for Typhoid Mary.
At the same time, Mary Mallon – Typhoid Mary, was leading a life she had built starting as a 15-year-old Irish immigrant as a successful cook for New York’s wealthy, powerful and important families.
The story is about Mary’s fight for her freedom and dignity, and Soper’s fight to put her in a place where she could no longer infect the people she worked for. It was the dawn of the age of Microbiology when Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch were blazing medical trails in their fight to control the great epidemics of the age. It is a look into the life of one of medicine’s great villains who is also a great ‘everyman’ heroine; a victim of state persecution whose only crime was carrying a disease at a time when germ theory was not widely known. Her story is a study that resonates with issues still in play today. Issues of immigration, feminism, the power of the state, the best interests of the community and more.