Radio review: Pinning down ‘the most dangerous woman in New York’

The strange – and, these days, strangely topical – tale of Typhoid Mary was retold in Sarah Blake’s Documentary On One

Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, sits fourth from right among a group of inmates quarantined on an isolated island on the Long Island Sound. Picture: Science History Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Have you heard the song about Typhoid Mary? Which one, you might ask. The Irish superspreader’s fame has only grown in recent years; a New York urban legend whose myth has travelled widely during the global pandemic. Sarah Blake’s Documentary On One: The Curious Case of Typhoid Mary (RTE Radio 1) aimed to set the historical record straight about this real-life Irishwoman, whose name has come to be synonymous with debates about public health and ...