The Other Typist: A Novel

The Other Typist: A Novel

by Suzanne Rindell


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Perfect for fans of Lara Prescott's The Secrets We Kept, this haunting debut novel—and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year—is set against the background of New York City in the 1920s…

Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425268421
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 148,885
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Suzanne Rindell is the author of The Other Typist and Three-Martini Lunch. She has published her short fiction and poetry in Conjunctions (online), NimrodstorySouthCrab Orchard Review, and Cream City Review. Rindell lives in New York City.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Take a dollop of Alfred Hitchcock, a dollop of Patricia Highsmith, throw in some Great Gatsby flourishes, and the result is Rindell’s debut, a pitch-black comedy about a police stenographer accused of murder in 1920s Manhattan.... A deliciously addictive, cinematically influenced page-turner, both comic and provocative." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Rindell's debut is a cinematic page-turner." —Publishers Weekly

“It's The Great Gatsby meets The Talented Mr. Ripley in this psychological thriller by first-time author Rindell.”—Los Angeles Public Library's Best Fiction of 2013
  “With hints toward The Great Gatsby, Rindell’s novel aspires to recreate Prohibition-era New York City, both its opulence and its squalid underbelly. She captures it quite well, while at the same time spinning a delicate and suspenseful narrative about false friendship, obsession, and life for single women in New York during Prohibition.” —Booklist

“If you liked Gone Girl, you might enjoy [The Other Typist]…The best book I’ve read so far this summer.”—Greenwich Time

“Totally addictive.”—The Atlantic Wire

“This eerie and compelling debut is a riveting page-turner, narrated by a strangely hypnotic yet dubious young woman who works as a typist for the NYPD in the 1920s. Don’t start this novel at night if you need your beauty sleep—you’ll stay up to all hours devouring its pages.” —Alice LaPlante, New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind

“As you read this remarkable first novel you will feel the room temperature drop. It’s chilling till the very end.” —Rita Mae Brown, MFH, Author

“You could make a one-sitting read of The Other Typist: it maintains the riveting dance of question-provoking answers that earn page-turners their name, and Suzanne Rindell’s Jazz Age NYC is gritty, glamorous, and utterly absorbing. . . . you’ll want to talk about The Other Typist.” —Alison Atlee, author of The Typewriter Girl

“Suzanne Rindell messes with your head. The Other Typist pretends to be the story of a nice young woman entering the cutthroat world of police work in 1920s New York. But it’s New York, not the nice young woman, who should be trembling. I had a blast reading this and had my nerves scrambled by the end.” —Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver

“Best for those who can’t get enough of The Great Gatsby and the Roaring Twenties. . . . This thrilling page-turner cinematically captures the opulence—and sordidness—of the Prohibition Era in New York.” —

“A story of glamour, prohibition, obsession and corruption, with a fantastic Hitchcockian twist, The Other Typist is a great way to kick off a summer of reading.”—KMUW 89.1, Wichita Public Radio

“A thrilling riff on the classic noir and an impressive first novel.”—Christian Science Monitor

“[A] perfect social comedy: A plain young typist working for the New York Police Department in the 1920s becomes obsessed with a glamorous co-worker. Revealing that there is a murderous twist in Suzanne Rindell’s spellbinder isn’t a spoiler but an essential for enjoying the exhilarating buildup.”—Daily Candy

“With Rose as its sly and slightly unreliable narrator, this suspenseful story will keep you guessing.”—Bookpage

“Rindell is a fine writer, and she’s written a suspenseful and well executed novel. The Other Typist is an elegant debut.”—The Millions

Customer Reviews

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The Other Typist 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
The timing for Suzanne Rindell's The Other Typist couldn't be better. Set in the 1920's in Prohibition New York City, it it the perfect companion for those who enjoyed Baz Lurhmann's spectacular film of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby. As the title character in The Other Typist, Odalie Lazare is the female equivalent of Jay Gatsby. She  mysteriously shows up one day to apply as a typist at a police precinct. It is a job that men reluctantly allow women to fill, as they are not as good as typists as the women. The other main character in the novel is Rose Baker, as unassuming and plain as Odalie is vivacious and beautiful. She grew up in an orphanage and had a boring, lonely life until Odalie walked into her life."On that particular day, she entered very calmly and quietly, but I knew; it was like the eye of a hurricane. She was the dark epicenter of something we didn't quite understand yet, the place where hot and cold mixed dangerously, and around her everything would change."Rose becomes enchanted by Odalie and is thrilled when Odalie befriends her. Odalie takes Rose to wild parties in hidden speakeasies, lends her gorgeous clothes and even invites Rose to move into her fancy Park Avenue apartment with her. Soon a spider's web encompasses Rose. Seduced by the fanciful lifestyle and believing that Odalie thinks of her as a sister, Rose nevertheless has nagging suspicions about Odalie. She catches Odalie telling different stories about her past, and when they run into a man who claims to know Odalie by a different name, things start to unravel. The story is told by Rose, who is writing this from some sort of institution. Something bad has clearly happened, and Rose is unspooling the turn of events from her point of view. The mystery of what has occurred is not immediately evident, we must wait (im)patiently for Rose to complete her story. The Other Typist seduces the reader just as surely as Odalie seduces Rose. Rindell weaves her story, keeping us turning the pages with her fascinating characters and cat-and-mouse plot. The setting of a 1920s NYC police precinct feels fresh, and who knew that women worked as typists there back then? I found it interesting that when one of the women became pregnant, she continued to work well into her pregnancy, even when she was clearly showing. It never occurred to me that women were allowed to be seen outside of their home obviously pregnant, let alone continue to work back then. But I guess if a family depends on a women's income, she'd have to work. The end of the story is literally jaw-dropping. I read the last few pages several times, and I'm still not sure that I completely know what happened. It has been called a mashup of The Great Gatsby and The Talented Mr. Ripley, but I also think that the many people who liked Gone Girl will like this book, although I think The Other Typist is much better. It is the best literary mystery of the year, and it didn't surprise me to find that it is an Amy Einhorn imprint. No one finds better debut novelists that Amy Einhorn.
AngieJG More than 1 year ago
I kept reading! On and on and on..hoping something fantastic would happen, but no, that never happened. The author leads you on throughout the book and the reader can't help but wonder what kind of zinger she is going to drop in our laps. But strangely nothing happens, nothing at all. The ending leaves the reader scratching their head. I hated all the characters. They weren't meant to be likable, but you need at least one to keep you happy! There was very little emotion, everyone seemed one dimensional and sociopathic. Initially, I was upset to see it wasn't a big 500 page book (the kind I like). However, it ended up being the slowest, most tedious 294 pages of my life. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really kept my attention. Twists and turns. Odd characters. Highly recommended. A++++ job.
kamilynne More than 1 year ago
I'm almost finished, and I really wanted to close the book half way through. I am pushing to finish it, just in case something good happens. It is the slowest book I have ever read, and there isn't much going on with the story. Sadly, I am not enjoying this book at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book! I laughed, I cried, I was on the edge of my seat and couldn't put it down!
PattyG54 More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader, and I knew I was being set up for a twist of an ending, but I was still surprised! Historical fiction lovers will want to read this one. The author states she is a fan of The Great Gadsby, well this is a Gadsby-esque with Catcher-in-the-Rye rolled in. Excellent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Other Typist was quite a different kind of Mystery with questions left in ones mind at the end. Worth the read.
48GIRL More than 1 year ago
This book is a great quick read. It kept my attention from start to finish and I hated to see it come to an end.
TiciaP More than 1 year ago
I've recently finished reading this novel and, like many others, was unsatisfied in its final chapter. In my view, this story required further clarification. My take on it is that 'Rose, Odalie, Ginevra, Adele' were all one and the same individual who was suffering from disassociative identity disorder. Although reasons for that are not explained. What brings me to that determination are the red herrings or hints, if you will, starting with Odalie Lazare. I thought it an odd choice for a name so pretended it was a 'jumbled' word(s) and surprisingly, found actual words with meanings to start my thinking process. Odalie unjumbled is 'eidola' which defined means "a phantom, an apparition or an idealized figure". Lazare unjumbled spells Azrael - the angel of death. Other hints included when Rose stole a cigarette from a pack on a desk although "she had never smoked before". If that were true, why does she smoke at the end? Another hint was when she was in the interrogation room with wife murderer, Vitali, she threatened him in a voice which "sounded strange to her and she did not recognize it as her own". Another hint when she was in the bathroom washing her face and looked in the mirror and instead of her own reflection, she saw Odalie looking back at her. There were a few other things which can be mentioned but I think I've made my point except for the fact there was no real explanation either by Rose in her narrative or the doctor. While it was nicely written, I don't think it merited certain accolades.
rnks1109 More than 1 year ago
It took me about 100 pages to really become engrossed in this novel, but once the plot got going, I was unable to put this book down. I really enjoyed the seedy, underground world of the speakeasies. Rose is a very observant and sympathetic narrator. The ending kept my head whirling and I am not sure what to think yet! I seriously want to start this one all over. This should be your next novel!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great summer read and a fun (and haunting) glimpse into the 1920s, speakeasies, and the morality of the day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reminded me of The Talented Mr. Ripley, but with a woman as the protagonist.
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
The narrator of this book, Rose, grew up in an orphanage.  In the course of her relating her tale, the details of her being so reared are revealed to be far different than one expected.  This revelation is made indirectly, almost as if an afterthought.  Throughout this first-person narrative of Rose, her life, and the year upon which she focuses as the reason for her speaking to her audience, is made plain in similar fashion. Her telling is spoken in a voice of conversation, a monologue that progresses in a steady direction that leads the reader to the uncomfortable unveiling of the Other Typist. Ms. Rindell’s first novel is an engaging read but not an entirely original one.  She structures the story in such a manner that I found myself so interested that I had difficulty stopping reading when I had more pressing matters to address.  Her characters, all viewed through the eyes of Rose, are full, living and, by the turn of the mood of the narrator, loathsome, loveable and mysterious.   The setting of the story, 1925 New York City, was a time of opulence, the active enforcement of the Volstead Act and the response to that act - “wet parties” (a.k.a. Speakeasies), “bootlegging,” and flappers.  As a typist for the NYPD, Rose is witness to the confessions of murderers, rapists and, thanks to the above mentioned Act, bootleggers.  Because of the three years she has been witness to such individuals, she “can tell when someone is lying” by seeing how they express themselves.  As a result of the increased work related to the raids on bootlegging operations, Odalie is hired as the new typist.  Immediately, Rose’s intuition is giving her cues to be leery of this fetchingly beautiful woman.   From the moment she first had contact with Odalie, Rose’s life changes.  It is not until a year after this first meeting does she realize home much her life has changed, having been blinded by the trees planted by her new friend, she could not see the forest in which she wandered was one filled with more than dangerous animals.  The author offers sufficient false leads to have kept me guessing until very late in the novel.  How the novel ends will be familiar to those who enjoy suspense novels/movies.  That familiarity, however, will come very late in the read. This is a morality tale set in an age that is strangely reflective of today.  The 1920’s were “roaring” due to the amount of wealth available to a select few and their willingness to spend that wealth on their own pleasure.  The “have-nots” were left to serve the “haves” in hopes of providing a living for themselves.  Laws were plentiful, but were enforced randomly and the cost for breaking the law was unequally assessed. People used others to the ends that best served them, disregarding what happened to those so used. By the end, Rose is awakened to reality that her early life was only the beginning of her being orphaned.    
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So poorly written I could not finish the book. Lapses into cliche and poor descriptions so much I had to put it down. To really get into a story, you can't be cringing at the way it's written. Take a note from Donna Tartt, who does a much better job at it. Sorry I wasted my money on this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is no chance I will see the movie.  I had to read this uptight book because a friend who sees a shrink gave it to me and liked it. I would not recommend it, and I really did not like any of the characters.  Why didn't the author name the book, "The most shallow". and please don't compare it to Gatsby.
VirtuousWomanKF More than 1 year ago
This is a very fast read, however, I really did not like the story or the characters.  The story is just "odd". I am anxious to review with our book club to discuss their views. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book.  I recommended it to a friend and her book group decided to read it.  They all loved it, too.  
Becky-Books More than 1 year ago
I am rating this book as a 3 of 5 for a few reasons.  The story line was unique and intriguing.  The setting and era was fun and reminiscent of The Great Gatsby.  However, the ending was confusing.  I can think of about 4 different "endings", and I have no idea which is the real one.  It makes you wonder, however, not in a good way.  Many other literary blogs are saying the same thing - that they are confused as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this storey!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating narrator. Fast read. Would make a fine movie.
Pinworm3 More than 1 year ago
I only wish there was a zero star rating.  This book is so bad I couldn't get past the fourth chapter.  This author claims to be fascinated by the  1920s, but knows nothing about that period with regard to language and social and material conventions.  She doesn't know that nylon stockings  were not yet invented, she doesn't know that terms like "role model" were not used until the 1960s, she doesn't know that nuns didn't keep their  given names until after Vatican II in the 1960s.  Her word choices in some cases are just plain wrong--a dance with a man is an "awkward  abomination."  Apparently, said dance was monstrous and abhorrent.  Wow.  That was some dance.   This book is so amateurishly and inaccurately written that it is an awkward abomination. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kate2666 More than 1 year ago
This book was mysterious and captivating, set in 1920's prohibition period in NY, main character Rose who is lonely, plain and boring typist working in precinct, she is not a character that you would love or like, but she is definitely unique, she likes to keep to herself and observe other people, until she meets Odelia, another typist who is her opposite, she is charming, beautiful and cunning. They both become close friends and roommates, while Rose learns more about her mysterious new friend it becomes too late to turn back, and eventually Odelia manipulates and betrays Rose as she has done before to other people. I kind of new the story will not end well but I don't think this was meant for happy ending. This book is not for people to fall in love with the characters, it's more of a life lesson that friendship is not always what it seems to be, and that you can always get deceived by the ones you seemed to love the most. I'm glad they making a movie from the book, while reading it i was thinking to myself that it would make a great movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
really enjoyed the narrator's voice, and unreliability of narrator