Girl Waits With Gun

It’s a dark street corner in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1914. A young woman, wearing a dark coat and carrying a sensible leather handbag, waits in a conspicuous location.

The unseen parts of the scenario are the revolver in the handbag and the phalanx of police detectives watching over Miss Constance Kopp as she waits for her rendezvous with an agent from a gang of local thugs who have, on multiple occasions, demonstrated their intent to harm and intimidate Constance and her two younger sisters. The three women live on an isolated farm with their old mare and far too many carrier pigeons.

Girl Waits with Gun is a book that gives many a nod to the tradition of the noir detective story: the time, the place, and the criminal element. It’s also wickedly comic; and I know that doesn’t sound as if it ought to work, but author Amy Stewart pulls it off beautifully.

Funny and dark just aren’t enough, though. This book also evokes questions about the role of women in American society, particularly women who are seeking a path that deviates from tradition. And there is still more to appreciate when you know that Amy Stewart based her debut novel on a real-life story.

Other books set in this time period include:

Cocaine Blues by Phryne Fisher

A Duty to the Dead  by Charles Todd

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear



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