cover image Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions

Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions

Amy Stewart. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-544-40999-6

Stewart’s third novel in her clever and original Kopp Sisters series (after Girl Waits with Gun and Lady Cop Makes Trouble) continues the thorny adventures of Constance Kopp, New Jersey’s first female deputy sheriff. The earlier books featured Constance establishing herself as an effective law enforcement officer in a male-dominated profession, determined she can do whatever a male deputy can do. Here, however, there is little crime-fighting and less suspense, as Stewart focuses instead on the very real social, economic, and legal restrictions on women in 1916, and on the prickly relationships between Constance and her two sisters, Norma and Fleurette. Constance and Norma are middle-aged spinsters; Fleurette is 18 and dreams of a stage career as a singer and dancer. When Fleurette runs off to join the vaudeville troupe May Ward and Her Eight Dresden Dolls, Norma fears Fleurette might be held against her will in bad conditions. Meanwhile, Constance must supervise the female prisoners in the county jail, protect young girls from overzealous prosecution for the moral crime of waywardness, and apologize for a colossal and hilarious show business misunderstanding. Though the least action-packed of the three novels, this latest volume is by far the funniest. (Sept.)