Book Review: The Other Typist

June 26, 2013 Whitney Review 2 Comments

Book Review: The Other TypistThe Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Published by Penguin on May 7, 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Library

New York City, 1924: the height of Prohibition and the whole city swims in bathtub gin.

Rose Baker is an orphaned young woman working for her bread as a typist in a police precinct on the lower East Side. Every day Rose transcribes the confessions of the gangsters and murderers that pass through the precinct. While she may disapprove of the details, she prides herself on typing up the goriest of crimes without batting an eyelid.

But when the captivating Odalie begins work at the precinct Rose finds herself falling under the new typist's spell. As do her bosses, the buttoned up Lieutenant Detective and the fatherly Sergeant. As the two girls' friendship blossoms and they flit between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night, and their work at the precinct by day, it is not long before Rose's fascination for her new colleague turns to obsession.

But just who is the real Odalie, and how far will Rose go to find out?

I did something I hardly ever do, I read The Other Typist in one day.

A few weeks ago a fellow blogger, Elizabeth at Silver Reviews warned me that The Other Typist was a book I would have to talk about, and she was right!  It was incredible.  The ending was a complete twist that I did not see coming.  and a week after reading it my head is still whirling.  The Other Typist is as intoxicating as a good bottle of champagne.

I could picture The Other Typist as a 1930’s film noir.

Shelley Winters would be a perfect Rose.  Winters, who plays naive dowdy women to a tee.  This describes the protagonist, Rose exactly.  She only wants to be loved finding the wrong kind with her obsession with Odalie.  I routed or her but at the same proclaimed “how dense can you get.”  She was like Barney Fife to Andy Griffith, only with a gun and a smidgen more brain — but not much.

With the antagonist Odalie, I instantly thought of Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity.  Cunning, beautiful, with the skills to wrap a man around her little finger.  She is intoxicating.  I could see how Rose because enamored with her.

I loved reading about the interstices of Rose’s day job at the precinct as that is where all this dubiousness begins.  No matter how fictional, I found the interactions in the workforce between the men and fairer sex really interesting as they must be treated with care outside of the interrogation room but when inside must take it as a man.

From the beginning the reader is aware that Rose is in a hospital of some sort (she makes it very clear) but how she ends up there in the 20,000 dollar question.  The Other Typist was perfectly paced slowly unwinding a ball of yarn, deciphering Odalie’s true character.

I am having a difficult time creating a conclusion for this review as there is so much I’d like to say, but think my excitement would carry off, giving away the jaw dropping, “oh no you didn’t” ending. Thus, I will end here.


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