The Other Typist – book review

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell  was published in 2013 and is a remarkably good mystery story for a first time novelist. The lead character is named Rose, and she is a drab unimaginative sort despite the fact that her job should be exciting. She works in the New York City police department in 1923 typing up the statements, lies and sometimes even confessions of the criminals the detectives bring in for questioning.

Rose’s world is completely changed with the arrival in the department of Odalie- “the other typist”. Odalie is everything Rose is not. She is glamorous and dresses in ways Rose at first finds scandalous. Unlike Rose, who keeps all the detectives at a safe distance, Odalie enjoys flirting and being the center of attention.

Rose is surprised and flattered that Odalie goes out of her way to make friends with Rose, and soon the two even become roommates.

But there is something about Odalie which never makes sense to Rose. What is Odalie really doing there? Why is she working as a typist when she seems to have tons of money and some sort of secret life?

Rose finds herself getting drawn more and more into Odalie’s secret world, and soon finds that each step off the straight and narrow path becomes easier and easier. Rose gets so far off the path you wonder if she will be able to make it back.

Suzanne Rindell has done an excellent job in this period piece mystery novel from the Prohibition days in New York. Mobsters, flappers and very tough cops make this an exciting and fast paced book.  It has an unexpected surprise twist ending that I have to admit I did not see coming, even though in classic mystery tradition the clues were planted throughout the story.

I eagerly look forward to the publication of Ms. Rindell’s next novel.

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