Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Title: The Other Typist
Author: Suzanne Rindell
Read by:  Gretchen Mol
Publisher: Penguin
Length: 10 hours (8 CDs)
Source:  Review Copy from Penguin Thanks!

The Other Typist is story that once it has you in its gripes, takes you for a wild ride and leaves you with a humdinger of an ending.  Rose Baker is a typist for a New York City Police Department precinct in 1923.  She has to listen to horrendous confessions and interviews as part of her job, which the straight and narrow Sergeant apologizes for after the fact.  Rose was raised as an orphan in a convent and has always tried to live life on the up and up.  She is succeeding until one day a new mysterious typist joins the precinct.

Odalie is everything that Rose is not.  She has moved beyond Victorian conventions and has embraced the life of a flapper.  From bobbing her hair, to attending parties at speak easies, Odalie is a 1920s modern woman.  At first Rose is offended by Odalie, but gradually she falls under her spell.  To get away from a deplorable living situation, Rose moves in with Odalie.  Odalie’s lifestyle makes no sense to Rose.  She lives in a fancy hotel and spends money like it will never run out. Why is she even working at the precinct?  Everyone at the precinct has a theory, but as Rose finds herself immersed in Odalie’s world, she starts to understand there are very dark secrets behind Odalie.

I loved this audiobook.  I loved the 1920’s setting, one of the house parties seemed almost Gatsby-esque.  I found both Rose and Odalie’s characters absorbing.  I wanted to know what made them both tick.  I also liked the romantic tension that was between Rose and the Lieutenant Detective.  The mystery and plot thickened as the story went on and led to a stunning conclusion.  The negatives of this audiobook to me was the very last line of the book and the heavy foreshadowing that was used throughout.  I would have liked it better without the foreshadowing giving away that something tragic was going to happen at the end.  I also didn’t like how the last line totally changed the entire meaning of the book and left it without a true ending.  What really happened?  It’s been driving me crazy since I finished this book a couple of weeks ago!  Maybe this is a mark of an excellent book to keep me constantly thinking about it.  Gretchen Mol was an excellent narrator and the story moved at a good clip that keep me intrigued on my daily commute.

SPOILER ALERT (Don’t continue if you haven’t read this book or listened to the audiobook!)

I thought up until the end that Odalie was Ginerva and she framed Rose for the murder of Teddy and Gibb, but what did it mean in the last line that Rose remembers the look in Teddy’s eyes when he feel from the balcony.  Was Rose the killer?  How could she be in two places at once – buying cigarettes and on the balcony?  Were Rose/Odalie/Ginerva the same person all along?  If so, how could the Lieutenant Detective bring a gift from Rose to Odalie and what about other interactions that people had throughout the book with both of them?  Were there two sides to Ginerva all the while, the modern girl Odalie and the old fashioned girl Rose?  Or was Rose really Ginerva and she killed Teddy, while Odalie was Odalie and perhaps killed Gibb?

I’ve been puzzling around all three of these ideas and I’m stumped.  I like my originally assumption the best that  Rose was framed and that she is going to become a modern care free woman, get free from the mental institution and get back at Odalie.  What are your thoughts?  I want to discuss this!


I’ve seen online that The Other Typist is getting made into a movie starring Kiera Knightly.  I really hope so – I would love to see it and would hope that it would solve some of my remaining questions.  Overall, The Other Typist is a great historical fiction mystery that will keep you guessing up until the end and beyond.


  1. Laura, I'm glad you enjoyed this audiobook. It sounds as if it will be an excellent movie, set in the 1920s. Terrific review!

  2. Thank-you - it was a terrific audiobook!

  3. hi I loved this book and your review of it was far better than mine thanks.