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Monday, September 5, 2016
4:29 pm edt
Lady Cop Makes Trouble
I grow up,” my inner child is saying, “I want to be a writer…just like Amy Stewart. I want my latest character
in novel number four to be as strong, as courageous, as smart, and witty as Constance Kopp, new Jersey’s first lady
deputy sheriff, in Stewart’s second historical novel, Lady Cop Makes Trouble (A Kopp Sisters Novel). One can only hope.
The second in her Kopp Sisters series set in the early 1900s in Bergen County, New
Jersey (the first was Girl Waits with Gun, reviewed on this blog on Sunday, July 12, 2015) this quite readable and
most enjoyable book is a veritable tour de force. Stewart, who gave us many wondrous non-fiction natural science exposés
– including my favorite, The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks –
has once again provided us with a literary rendition of the life of…well, a lady cop. (That’s right, folks. Our
intrepid heroine was actually dubbed Cop Constance Kopp! And she’s back!) And if truth is, as they say, better than
fiction…Well, then Deputy Sheriff Kopp – as other critics have noted – is the American answer to Jaqueline
Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs. Only Amy Stewart’s, I have to say, is a tad better. The character of Constance doesn’t
seem fictionally squeezed out of one’s imagination into a word processor, but was obviously written with a natural fluidity
as if she had been lifted from the pages of history onto the pages of a literary mystery. Which she was. Actually, so far,
into two of them, with yet another one on the horizon.
“Books,” a reading buddy said to me over lunch
one lazy summer afternoon, “must, to me, be amusing as well as entertaining. Most important, they must elucidate –
be enlightening.” In Lady Cop Makes Trouble, the author certainly meets all these criteria. Deputy Kopp’s
first-person insights into and about the lives of female inmates and the fugitive convicted criminals she searches for (based
upon the actual cases Constance Kopp worked on during her tenure as a Deputy Sheriff) are well crafted illuminations. Observations
of Sheriff Heath’s as well as her own family are both humorous and poignant. And the little touches of early 20th
Century Americana and the painstaking detailed fictionalizations of real-life incidents interspersed throughout the plot line
elevate this novel to a most satisfactory read.
While a master at bringing the not-so-dull, often drab tales
of science to life, Stewart has, indeed, also mastered the art of storytelling. Definitely put Constance and her adventures
on your Autumn to-read list. Her many adventures will keep the cockles of your heart warm and intrigued as the (very-much
welcomed) cooler weather begins to set in.
Enjoy the read!
J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is
an author, poet, and librettist. Her currenty published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations,
volumes of poetry, stories
for children (of all ages) and
a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of
Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World
Rainbow in the Sky
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her fifth novel.