I’ve been reading a lot of grim and/or heavy books lately, or grad school textbooks (snooooore), so Girl Waits with Gun was an excellent reminder that books can be fun. I fell madly in love with Constance by page five, and spent the rest of the book wishing we could be best friends.
The three Kopp sisters (Constance, stolid Norma, shallow Fleurette) live on a farm in New Jersey in 1914. It’s unusual at the time for women to be left totally to their own devices, but the sisters prefer it that way. Their mettle is tested, however, when their horse and buggy are hit by a thug’s automobile. Constance sets out to collect the $50 it will take to repair their buggy, thus setting off a year-long stretch of harassment by the thug, Henry Kaufman. Kaufman and his goons throw bricks through windows, threaten to kidnap teenage Fleurette, and send threatening letters.
Constance, described as tall, solid, and “not a usual lady,” does not take Kaufman’s shenanigans lying down. She enlists the help of the local sheriff, learns to shoot a revolver, patrols the farm, protects her sisters, and works to build a case against the weaselly Kaufman. She is polite and proper throughout, but has a spine of steel and a fearlessness that shocks her sisters.
I also enjoyed Norma, the taciturn middle sister who hates police and publicity and is mortified by the whole situation. I did occasionally want to slap Fleurette, who thinks the whole thing is a game and is flattered that she’s the one the goons want to kidnap. The book is based on real events, and newspapers at the time called Constance “the first female crimefighter.” The Kopp sisters are total bad-asses, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.