Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Amy Stewart

By Lynn Willoughby

Lady Cop Makes Trouble ~ Amy Stewart
When I reviewed Stewart’s first novel “Girl Waits With Gun”, I said I hoped there would be a sequel.  This is it and while I enjoyed it, the sparkle, the humour, the fun of the first novel were missing!
Constance Kopp (is there a pun here?) has been deputized, then de-deputized.  Women deputies were hired in New Yor County as early as 1912, but that could not continue as the law required “deputies to be eligible to vote.” The law became irrelevant in 1917 when women won the right to vote.
Nevertheless, this novel is based on real people and on real cases inspired by the real life headlines.  Constance Kopp was indeed asked by Sheriff Heath to help find the escaped prisoner, Dr Von Matthesius.
I found there were a lot of extraneous details in this story.  What WAS interesting were the descriptions of the tenaments, the child labour of the day, the homeless people on the streets of New York City in the early 20th centruy.  some of the prisoners in the new Hackensack jail actually pled guilty so they could remain in jail as it was so much cleaner and the food was better than home!
One striking note in this little novel is a quote by doctors and law enforcement officers, when talking about those who break the law.  “Isn’t that what they all do?  Go back to their old ways.  The bank robbers and arsonists and the sham doctors?  Won’t they all get out and do it again?  Did you ever think  they wouldn’t?”  Makes you think we haven’t come very far in our “corrections” system.
What does give me heart is the story of a woman forging her own path.  Constance is living a life that makes her happy and the expectations of society be damned!
  • Girl Waits With Gun
  • The Drunken Botanist
………and several other books of non-fiction

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