Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads, Mount TBR 2017

The Other Typist – Suzanne Rindell

Historical Fiction 5*s
Historical Fiction
5*s

The Other Typist is Rose’s tale we hear of her life working as a typist in a Police Precinct in Brooklyn, her shared room in a Boarding House with the room divided by a curtain, the other half containing a woman who Rose possibly dislikes, but definitely feels superior to. In 1920s Brooklyn the Prohibition period is in force and the Police Commander has decided that his force should be arresting those running the latest speakeasy which has popped up and then melt away around the city.

Enter Odile, a beautiful graceful creature, one with bags of sophistication, beautiful clothes and an easy manner. Odile is the ‘other typist’ the newest to join the typing pool. Rose is instantly both bewitched and disapproving of Odile, well that is until Odile decides to befriend her which leads to a chain of events that Rose could never have predicted.

The two girls become friends and moving from typing up the statements and sometimes confessions of the local gangsters and crooks, the girls attend the very speakeasy the police force they work for are supposed to be bringing to justice. There is a real sense of place and time in The Other Typist. I could quite have easily joined them on a night out in a beaded dress and sipping the champagne cocktails which were strictly prohibited. I think the secret locations with passwords required to gain entry would only make a night of partying with the select few who were in the know all the more alluring.

Rose narrates her story with a distinctive voice. We hear that Rose was an orphan, who was bought up by nuns but clearly a clever girl; she was one of the lucky ones who got an education. She is so obviously Odile’s inferior on the social scale but Rose has a sense of superiority that outweighs, well nearly, these facts. Indeed Rose’s narrative strongly reminded me of Barbara Covett in Zoe Heller’s novel What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, both require a different label to ‘unreliable narrator’ I suggest ‘nebulous narrator’ is a far more accurate description as even at the end of the book, it was hard to separate the facts from the fiction. Rose’s sense of superiority is an overriding feature of her narrative style, and yet there is a sense that she realises that this is unfounded at times, all of which should make her unlikeable to her reader, but it didn’t, I felt a certain amount of fondness for this spiky young woman. Of course there are a number of other characters who have their parts to play but it must be remembered that all of these characters are viewed through Rose’s eyes, and Rose is only really watching one person, Odile.

Fairly early on in the book we learn that Rose is recounting her story from a hospital and so we get some sense of where the ending might lie, but the fun is entirely in the journey. So we follow Rose to work where she admires the Sergeant but isn’t quite so sure about the Lieutenant. Where she types faster than anyone else, naturally without making any mistakes. A life where she is able to judge how a particular interview will play out and yet she melts into the background where the police, all men of course, go about getting their confessions. We watch as her certainties about right and wrong unravel under Odile’s influence as she whirls around the dance floor with the latest contraband cocktail in hand until life whirls a little bit too fast and the wheels come off.

This was a superb story, even more so when you consider that this is the author’s debut novel and it was one which had me completely entranced with an ending has had me pondering for a good few days now. If like me you had this lingering on some TBR list of one description or another, don’t delay pull it out and read it!

mount-tbr-2017
 
 

First Published UK: 2013
Publisher: Allison & Fig Tree
No of Pages:  369
Genre: Historical Fiction – Psychological
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 15)

Weekly Wrap Up

Life has overtaken in the last few weeks with the result that I have read far less than normal but despite that, I thought I’d use this wrap-up post to share what I have read and which new books I have gained.

Last Week on the Blog

I took part in the Extract tour of Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard which had the unusual setting of a cruise ship for her psychological thriller.

I wrote a review for Little Bones by Sam Blake, a Dublin based crime novel, which was full of good things: action, great characters and a credible plot with an equally believable solution.

My Tuesday Post had an extract from the wonderful Play Dead by Angela Marsons which is out 20 May 2016. If you haven’t read the first three in this series, you are missing out!

Wednesday’s post  confirmed t that I have finished Mary Kubica’s third book, Don’t You Cry, the review will be posted next week as part of the book tour.

I then took part in the latest fun meme ‘My A-Z of Books’ which had me reflecting on those books I love from the past as well as the more recent additions.

Stacking the Shelves

It’s quite a while since I featured new additions to my bookshelves so here is what I’ve got!

There have been some irresistible bargains for kindle on Amazon recently so I purchased this one from my wishlist: Pariah by David Jackson which is the first in his Callum Doyle series. I loved his latest book A Tapping at my Door – one of my favourite reads of the year, so I now have a back-catalogue to explore.

Pariah

Blurb

Where can you turn when your very presence brings death to those around you?
That’s the question Detective Callum Doyle is about to face. It begins with the calculated murder of his partner on a vacant lot. But more death is to follow, and when the chilling anonymous messages arrive, Doyle is left in no doubt that this is about him.
You cannot go near your friends, your colleagues, or even your family. Because if you do… they will be killed.
To save others, Doyle is forced to cut himself off from society. But with the investigation getting nowhere and his isolation becoming unbearable, Doyle has to ask himself how much he’s willing to sacrifice to get his life back. Goodreads

The many excellent reviews I’ve read of In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings made buying a copy of this at a bargain price a no-brainer

In Her Wake

Blurb

A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own.
A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.
Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home. Goodreads

The lovely Alice from Midas PR sent me a copy of Love You Dead by Peter James which arrived Friday to squeals of excitement, the Roy Grace series has been a firm favourite of mine for years now, a whole twelve in fact.

Love You Dead

Blurb

An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life – to be beautiful and rich. She’s achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she’s working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it’s getting rid of the husband afterwards that’s harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect . . .
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind . . . and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realization that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is. Goodreads

And finally while out with a friend just yesterday I came across a used copy of Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín which has also been on my wishlist since reading Nora Webster by the same author.

Brooklyn

Blurb

Colm Tóibín’s sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.
Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighbourhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.
Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future. Goodreads

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 8 books, and gained, 4 so the total has plummeted to 176 books!
94 physical books
69 e-books
13 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week? Please don’t tempt me too much!