By Amy Stewart
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015, 408 pages, Historical Fiction
In 1914, sisters Constance, Nora, and Fleurette Kopp live on a secluded farm in the country, just outside Paterson, New Jersey. On a drive into town for supplies one day the sisters’ horse and buggy is literally run over by Henry Kaufman, a local silk mill owner, and his gang of thugs, all riding in his brand new car. While most people would stay away from such a high-powered man, Constance insists that justice be served. When she demands he pay for damages, Kaufman responds with bricks through windows, veiled threats, and even bullets. Instead of backing down, Constance rises to the occasion, taking her complaints to the county sheriff, doing a bit of investigating of her own, and learning to shoot a gun.
Based on a true story, and with an exceedingly interesting main character (Constance Kopp became one of the country’s first female deputy sheriffs), this book was a lot of fun to read. It was full of suspense, with many twists and turns, and it managed to be witty as well. Constance is a fully-fleshed character with many interesting motivations. Stewart’s research shines through with her use of text from newspaper articles of the time and seamless use of actual historical events. Historical fiction fans and fans of female sleuths will love this book.