If you’ve been having a little Gatsby withdrawal this summer, The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell may be just the novel to quell your roaring 20s thirst. We’ve got speakeasies, bobbed hair and self-entitled young adults with a dash of murder, and (here’s where the similarities depart) possibly a side of Fight Club, but that’s up for debate. (Any takers?)
Rose is a self-righteous, uptight and rather clueless young woman working as a typist in a New York City police precinct. As such, she’s privvy to gruesome details of all sorts of heinous crimes. Life continues along, until the glamorous Odelie joins the complacent group of typists, raising havoc with her mysterious, confident, modern nature. Rose, despite herself, is easily drawn into Odelie’s bootlegging, back alleyed, money-is-no-object world, and gets to know a side of herself she can barely admit to having.
Overall, it’s a quick, captivating read, even if ambiguous in the end – but that can be half the fun, right?
- You feel you should have been born a century earlier.
- You’re looking for something that resembles noir but isn’t quite.
- You like unique takes on familiar subject matter.
- You don’t mind strong, possibly amoral, female characters.
- You prefer The Third Man to The Thin Man. Or not. Perhaps your in a The Third Man kind of mood.
You should not read this if:
- You prefer your novels to be lighthearted and wrapped up with a neat little bow at the end.
- Your misogyny has got you down.
- “Moody” should describe your cantankerous coworker but never novels or films.
- You just can’t imagine a world without the internet.
- You’ve never even heard of The Third Man or The Thin Man.
I did have the pleasure of meeting Ms. Rindell at a lovely event in, as luck would have it, an old city police station, and she’s just delightful. I’ll be looking for her next book, which is rumored (by her) to take place in the village during the beatnik era.