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 and will her life irrevocably damage Rose's?
Rindell has a clean, concise writing style that is engaging. Rose's first person narrative is enticing in that you're not quite 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 that 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 that captures the stylistic feel of the 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.
Reviews compare 'The Other Typist' to "Hitchcock, with a flourish of Great Gatsby"; Patricia Highsmith and Gillian Flynn's 'Gone Girl.'
I might recommend this to lovers of psychological thrillers and book groups who like to lively discussions on open-ended finales - there are also book group discussion questions in the back.
I didn't realise until writing this post that this was made into a movie by the same title, in 2015 and stars Keira Knightley.
Favourite quote (this reference is to the telephone/landline telephone back in 1925):
"It is interesting to me how technology has in many ways facilitated and refine the practice of deception."