Watch out for the new girl.
“It is interesting to me how technology has in many ways facilitated and refined the practice of deception.”
~ The Other Typist
(This is one of my favourite quotes in this book, and references the telephone/landline telephone back in 1925)
This intriguing story captures the tone of New York City in 1924 and has a great premise: Rose Baker, a young female stenographer works in a Manhattan police office, taking the confessions of witnesses and criminals. The arrival of glamourous and independent Odalie, ‘the other typist’ adds flavour to Rose’s otherwise routine life; spicing it up with exotic characters at underground speakeasys/bars. Rose falls right into this lifestyle as her obsession with Odalie grows. But who is Odalie? Will her life irrevocably damage Rose’s?
Rindell’s clean, concise writing style is engaging. Rose’s first person narrative is enticing in that you’re not sure what’s going on and what is going to happen. The mini-cliffhangers make for a page turner. There were a couple of plot lines I thought were going to be the focus for the story, but they ended up not really developing.
What I loved: The style of the book captures the stylistic 1920s, and the way Rose speaks and observes.
What I didn’t love: The ending. I won’t ruin it further except to say that I felt it was a bit too vague and easy to read in a number of ways — hence the “WHAT?!?” rating.
Rindell’s The Other Typist will probably appeal to fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn.
Because there are book group discussion questions in the back, I might also recommend this to lovers of psychological thrillers and book groups who like to lively discussions on open-ended finales.
In 2015, this novel was made into a movie with Keira Knightley in the lead role.
If you are interested in this book, check out my other reviews: