The Other Typist, by Suzanne Rindell
Picked up this page-turner on a dizzyingly muggy day. The thick heat made me want to lounge in a Prohibition-era novel, laden with speakeasies, crime, and cool sleek women slouching about like panthers. And in addition to cocktails and scandalous outfits, this mystery explores obsession, manipulation, and the slippery slope to sin.
Our narrator, Rose, is a straight-laced and competent professional typist from a poor background. She’s swept off her feet by the glamorous, charismatic Odalie, who seems to make all the rules wherever she goes. Rindell does a good job portraying Odalie’s dangerous magnetism and the seductive spectacles of the time. I certainly wanted to don a cloche hat and silky drop-waist dress. Though it’s a little wordy, the plot clips along quickly enough, and there’s decent psychological nuggets about sociopathy and violence.
What Rindell lacks is subtlety. Rose constantly bemoans how such-and-such happened before she knew What She Now Knows. So much foreshadowing without payoff is obnoxious! Good thrillers drop the clues to the reader all along, so we’re astonished by how familiar pieces fit together unexpectedly at the denouement. Instead, this book repeatedly reminds us that there’s a twist we don’t know about yet, and delivers said twist when it’s time for the book to end.
And then it’s over.
The 213 in 2013 series chronicles every book I read in 2013. Each review contains exactly 213 words, because 2013 words is too long and 2013 characters is too dang short.