The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Penguin Books (2014)
354 pages, 4 stars
ABOUT THE BOOK: New York City, 1924: 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? —Goodreads.com
The Other Typist is an incredible, creepy story that sucks you in immediately. Rose is not by any means a loveable character. She’s an anti-feminist old-world prim prude (enough adjectives for you?). Odalie is the opposite of Rose and you wonder why on earth they are friends the entire time they are going to speakeasies and flashy parties like it’s The Great Gatsby. SPOILERS POSSIBLY: The entire book is foreboding and made me uneasy, because Rose is narrating from a mental hospital. And then good lord the ending! It’s so good. I really enjoyed how the author plays with Rose’s unreliability. The last paragraph was a total mindfuck. I’m still processing. For those of you who have read it, did Rose kill Teddy? I was under the impression that Odalie did it until that last paragraph.
FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little wall flower (Rose), you are plain as day typing away at your desk. These loafers are practical, cute, and just a little old lady. They are perfect for doing Odalie’s errands and running from the police during raids.
Prohibition is in full swing, but Odalie has you wearing the classic cat-eye liner and lipstick. You’re sneaking into the speakeasy wearing this beaded flapper dress. Careful not to drink too many champagne cocktails or the Lieutenant Detective might put the moves on you.
Slip this coat over your dress, the hem is too short for your liking (you old Victorian), but the coat will lend you some modesty at least in the street. Finally, slip these diamond bracelets on, one on each wrist. When you hold your hands together it looks like you’re wearing the most beautiful handcuffs. Little do you know, you’ll soon be wearing the real thing.