Excerpt from The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Other Typist

A Novel

By Suzanne Rindell

The Other Typist
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2013,
    368 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2014,
    368 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Perhaps it's a misnomer to refer to her as "the other typist," as there were other typists all along. I was one of three. There was a forty-year- old woman named Iris with a gaunt face, sharp jaw, and gray, birdlike eyes. Every day Iris wore a different colored ladies' necktie. Iris was always complaisant to do extra typing when it was needed, and this was much appreciated. (Crime does not take weekends or observe bank holidays, the Sergeant is fond of saying.) As far as social particulars went, Iris had never been married, and it was difficult to imagine marriage had ever been one of her aspirations.

Then there was Marie, who was in many ways an opposite composite of Iris. Marie was rotund and always merry and walked with a slightly hobbled step from where an omnibus had run over her left foot when she was just a child. Marie was barely thirty but had already married twice—the ?rst of her husbands had run off with a chorus girl. Without being able to locate him to secure a proper divorce, Marie had simply shrugged away the legal contract and married her second husband, a man named Horace, who was kind to her but was sick all the time with gout. Marie worked at the precinct because she was under no illusion that Horace would be able to provide for her. She was a sentimental woman who had married for love, despite the fact the gout was bound to get worse and keep him off his feet more and more. The crude remark was often made behind Marie's back that between her mangled left foot and Horace's gout- swollen feet, they probably danced one "helluva" waltz together. People never said these things while she was in the room, but Marie was no fool and she was aware this joke was often bandied about. She had decided long ago to pretend ignorance. She was generally for anything that facilitated greater camaraderie, and in consequence everybody seemed to like working with her.

And then there was me, of course. I'd worked at the precinct for a little over two years and had already garnered a reputation for being the fastest and most accurate typist. Among the three of us we were able to keep up with all the precinct's needs, typing the paperwork for all the bookings, confessions, and correspondence. We were able to keep up, that is, until the Volstead Act triggered a serious boost in our business, so to speak.

In the beginning, the Volstead Act wasn't very popular among the officers at the precinct, and for a while enforcement of the act was distinctly halfhearted. The patrolmen grumbled and only offered minimal assistance as the Anti-Saloon League closed down one watering hole after another. Offi cers who happened upon ?asks of bathtub gin often let the perpetrators off with a warning, taking care, of course, to con?scate the evidence. Despite the Woman's Christian Temperance Union's best efforts to make the nation think so, not everyone believed the devil was really in the drink. There were even judges who couldn't seem to muster the appropriate amount of outrage to earnestly punish the bootleggers who very fully and ?agrantly ?outed the law. Seems only natural after a hard day's work a man should want a tall drink of something, the Lieutenant Detective once said quite loudly for everyone to hear, shrugging his shoulders.

Things went on like this for a time. Periodically an assortment of men from the neighborhood—many of them husbands and fathers—were hauled in for selling moonshine and allowed to go with a simple rap on the knuckles. No one cared to do much more than this.

But they say it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, and in our case the squeaky wheel was Assistant Attorney General Mabel Willebrandt and the grease was us. I can't claim to be an expert on her legal career, but from what I've read in all the papers, Mrs. Willebrandt holds the dubious distinction of taking on issues of poorly enforced legislation her lazier and more prudent male counterparts won't touch, and then proceeding to tackle such issues with surprising gusto, often making headlines in the process. I suppose it is only natural Mrs. Willebrandt has made herself into a patron saint of lost legal causes; she is a woman, after all, and there is little risk in letting a woman have charge of the unpopular issues. When a woman fails at her profession it is considered something rather different from when a man fails at his. However, it was clear Mrs. Willebrandt had no intention of failing, and she proved herself to be both tenacious and resourceful. While she was unable to make much of an alliance with Mayor Hylan, she did succeed in talking some "good sense" into the mayor's wife, Miriam. Between the two of them, they succeeded in stirring up enough press to make the case that New York City should set more of an example for the rest of the nation and take more decisive action in trying to convert itself into a model "dry" city. I tell you all this because the result of all the political posturing was our precinct was selected to serve as a special apparatus of "the Noble Experiment." This is what I mean when I say we were to be the grease intended to quiet Mrs. Willebrandt's squeaky wheel.

Excerpted from The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Rindell. Excerpted by permission of Amy Einhorn Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

Harvard is the storehouse of knowledge because the freshmen bring so much in and the graduates take so little out.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.