Perfectly timed with the release of Baz Luhrmann's epic adaptation of the Great Gatsby, Suzanne Rindell's debut is an impressive thriller romp set in 1920s New York against a backdrop of glitz, glamour and greed.
Our unreliable narrator for the duration is a Miss Rose Baker, a typist working at a police precinct on the Lower East Side. Prim and proper to the last, Rose lives her life according to rule and regulation - and happily so, that is until fellow typist Odalie Lazare arrives.
Rose is captivated by Odalie from the start. A flirtatious and mysterious creature, she has the ability to manipulate all those who surround her, and to this Rose is no exception. The two typists eventually form an unlikely and intimate friendship, one that leads to deceit, betrayal and to the discovery of just how unfortunate the consequences of an unhealthy obsession can be.
The Other Typist is a very enjoyable read with an array of twists and turns that will engage and delight. Sordid speakeasies and a jolly holiday to the Long Island Sound (Gatsby's old stomping ground) provide the fabulous scenery and the detailed description of these haunts incites the welcomed desire for a long cigarette and a tumbler of bathtub gin. While I greatly enjoyed this book, I found the author's continuous foreshadowing both distracting and unnecessary. Also, I felt that while it is a rare and precious thing as a reader to be left guessing until the very end, it can also be frustrating for the book to end and to still be left guessing, as I sadly was with this novel.
The Other Typist is an accomplished debut that delivers style and suspense by the bucket-load and is well worth the read if you enjoy a good period thriller and (unlike me) can do perfectly well without the need for closure. 3/5
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Fig Tree (23 May 2013)
Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC of this book to review.