Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review: Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

Title: Girl Waits with Gun

Author:  Amy Stewart

Information on series: First book in new "Kopp Sisters" series.

Audience: Adult, but it is quite clean and fine for teens.

Rating: Scale 1 to 10 (10 being highest): 7

TL;DR: 1910s New Jersey: three sisters fight “the man” with dignity and sass, based on a true story.

I chose this book in particular because it was a mystery and very much outside of my normal reading habits. I do like to stretch my reading boundaries. The premise seemed intriguing too: The year is 1915, the location: New Jersey, USA. There are three sisters living on a farm and taking care of themselves just fine, thank you very much. The story begins as the sisters are out shopping. Along comes a newfangled automobile which quite suddenly and rather rudely smashes into the ladies' horse-drawn buggy.
What starts as a simple quest to recoup the cost of a demolished buggy turns into an all-out war with the corrupt factory owner (and errant automobile driver) who refuses to pay and in fact, insists on harassing and taunting these ladies with threats and bullets until they feel they are trapped in their home and under siege. But even as we can feel their fear and worry, and the unfairness of the general treatment of women at this time, we also see their strength and fortitude.

Constance, Norma and Fleurette Kopp just wanted to go about their own business, but as they are thrust into an unwanted struggle, they grow to meet the challenge and then some. All three end up being a hero in their own way in this story. As we watch them take on the corrupt boss and his henchmen (as well as some of the gender norms expected during this era), we get to savor some sweet justice. The best part of the whole story, to me, is the fact that it is based on a true story. The Kopp sisters were real and they were actually involved in a story much like this one! It is great that this tale of three incredible women is finally being told.

This mystery isn't a whodunit, not really. But it does keep us on the edge of our seat wondering how all the pieces fit and how things happened the way they did. I recommend this for anyone who can appreciate sharp and capable main characters who are up against a society that doesn't really respect them, but who do what needs to be done regardless. There are some great one-liners in this book and a general sense of playfulness, even as there are some more serious and thoughtful elements that pin the story together. A great read overall! Book 2 is out now and it is called Lady Cop Makes Trouble.


Phryne Fisher Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood: Spunky main character, same era. First book in series is "Cocaine Blues." 

Maisie Dobbs Novels by Jacqueline Winspear: Intelligent and sharp main character, mainly set in 1930s. First book is titled "Maisie Dobbs."

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Mysteries: Smart woman with older male protegee, same era. "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" is book one.

~Review by Angie Johnson, Carnegie-Stout Public Library

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