Lady Cop Makes Trouble

Being a woman in law enforcement has always carried a particular set of challenges. In her 2015 novel, Girl Waits with Gun, Amy Stewart illuminated those challenges based on the real-life career of Constance Kopp, a tall, outspoken, multilingual woman who (almost by accident) became one of the first female deputy sheriffs in the U.S. In Lady Cop Makes Trouble, Constance returns in another early 20th-century adventure, chasing fugitives, serving as jail matron for Bergen County, N.J., and trying to watch over her two younger sisters, one of whom is harboring dreams of a career on the stage.

Stewart hits another bull's-eye with Constance's first-person narration, giving readers a sharp-eyed, pragmatic, dryly witty protagonist to root for. When Baron von Matthesius, a slippery inmate accused of "serious charges" (on which the sheriff refuses to elaborate), escapes from the local hospital during a thunderstorm, Constance is disgraced and out of a job. Sheriff Heath, too, is called on the carpet for letting the Baron escape. Determined to track down the fugitive (and discover the true nature of those serious charges), Constance heads to New York City, chasing clues all over Manhattan.

While Constance is clearly the star of Stewart's narrative, the minor characters (including a lady reporter and an enigmatic Italian woman jailed for shooting a man) are also well drawn. Sheriff Heath, an honorable man juggling his demanding job and sullen, dissatisfied wife, is also a compelling character. The fast-paced action, wry dialogue and Constance's reflections on her chosen career combine to make Lady Cop Makes Trouble a highly satisfying adventure. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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