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The Other Typist

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  17,748 ratings  ·  2,810 reviews
A haunting debut novel 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,
Paperback, 354 pages
Published January 2nd 2014 by Penguin (first published 2013)
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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
3.5 stars

Well, I feel like I need a cigarette and a martini.

What to say about this book? It's such a mind-fuck that it's hard to piece together, and I'm not certain that the story (or the ending) actually makes sense.

Set in the mid-1920s in New York during the Prohibition, the novel follows Rose (the narrator) who becomes obsessed (perhaps sexually) with another typist at work: the beautiful, charming, alluring, mysterious Odalie.

Rose and Odalie are typists at a New York police station. They
Cora Tea Party Princess
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
I don't know how I can properly review this book. My head is still reeling from that ending.

This book is a delicious mix of 1920s crime, punishment and mystery. Just who are Rose and Odalie, really? I still don't know. Which one is Ginevra? Were either of them ever Ginevra?

I am a sucker for a poisonous relationship in a book and all that it can bring, and this one is TOXIC. Odalie is mesmerising to everyone, even the reader who should be able to see through her. She is like an enchantress, weavi
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: reviewed-books
First of all, let me say that I was dying to give this book five stars...but there were a few big things that meant that I couldn't.

First off, what I liked: Oh my gosh. This is an author with a great voice. The wording was excellent and it pulled me in from the get-go. She knows how to create atomosphere without bogging the book down in pointless detail and that is a skill that is lacking far too often in books. She didn't use a lot of words when she set her scenes, but I could actually smell th
Julie Ehlers
Moderately entertaining, I suppose, but this has to be one of the most overwritten books of all time. So many adjectives! So many adverbs! So many idioms when a single word would do just as well! Vast amounts of clunky, obvious foreshadowing! And a narrator who's unreliable--which we know because she helpfully tells us so, several times. Uh, that's not really how you're supposed to do it. The whole thing reads like some kind of parody. I can't recommend it. If you're in the mood for some 1920s-s ...more
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dem by: Noeleen
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell is one of those novels with the right amount of suspense and intrigue that leaves you guessing right until the novel's conclusion.

The story centres around Rose who is employed as a stenographer in a New York Police Department and appears to be innocent and naive and somewhat staid in her ways. Rose's life changes forever the day the other typist is hired to work in her department and we see Rose become obsessed by the flamboyant Odalie.

Rose is an unreliable na
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
*long, drawn-out sigh*
This was an excellent debut, and the author will no doubt go on to write some great stuff. I see this as a movie.

However. There were some elements (no spoilers) that just weren't quite believable. And I have some historical quibbles. No one will care but me - I'm just satisfying my urge to nitpick:

1. The protagonist claims a typing speed of 160 wpm. The world speed record was 147 wpm in 1923. I type 92 wpm on a modern computer keyboard, but I learned on a 1920s era Underwood, which is why I chec
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel really really bad saying this, but it was a disappointment for me. The set up sounded so juicy, but it didn't live up to it for me :(

Overall, I found it superficial, melodramatic and unbelievable. By that I mean, I believe these characters could have indeed existed as people and that these events could indeed have happened, however I did not believe the development was sufficient in making the characters multidimensional and circumstances were insufficiently described.

Now, I know a lot of
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-audible
This story is a well-written, twisty tale of obsession, betrayal and murder. I absolutely loved it!! Although not as bleak and complex, this mystery reminded me somewhat of The Woman Upstairs. The two novels involve self-absorbed, repressed and unreliable narrators. Both women become acquainted and then obsessed with someone smooth, sophisticated and charismatic; and that person represents all that they desire for themselves. Any more details would ruin all the fun. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! ...more
Holy Crap! I really don't know what to think about the outcome of this debut novel, but I sure was surprised! What I think I know for sure is this........

It's the roaring 20's in New York City and a psycho-lunatic is on the loose disguised as a young woman. (no spoiler here)

Rose is an honest, hard-working stenographer working for the lower east side police precinct who shares a small room in a boarding house with a lying, gossiping bitch.

Odalie is a rich, high society dame with a personal agenda

Susan Melgren
May 07, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The opening line of "The Other Typist" was captivating: "They said the typewriter would unsex us."

But from there, it was all downhill.

This was hands-down one of the most disappointing, poorly written novels I have read in the past few years. The premise excited me: an intrigue/thriller set in 1920s "speakeasy" New York. Sounds good, right? But for all the author's excess use of adjectives, I got no sense of place from her writing. The characters may bob their hair, go to speakeasies and drink ho
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
The narration of the book was superb, the entire book was amazing, and the ending was incredible.

The characters came alive, and I could see every scene vividly. Ms. Rindell brought to the literary world a great style and an extraordinary book. Her descriptions are so lyrical and detailed you can easily and pleasantly visualize even the slightest action. The main "stage" of the book takes place in a police station, but that was not a detriment to the story. The smooth, easy flow of the novel was
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rose Baker is a typist in a NYC police precinct in the 1920s. Just your average looking, plain girl, raised in an orphanage, with no close family or friends. Her life suddenly changes when in walks Odalie Lazare starting as the newest typist. Just as suddenly, Rose is introduced to speakeasies, luxury, and bathtub gin. She becomes enraptured with her new best friend to a detrimental end.

Honestly hard to believe that this is Rindell's first book. Writing is spectacular and I kept comparing to G
Diana | Book of Secrets
9/14/2020: I read this book years ago, and still wonder about the ending from time to time. Would love to reread at some point...
_ _ _

3.5 Stars — THE OTHER TYPIST was a most curious book. I finished it a week ago, and I’m still trying to process everything. The story is told by Rose, a typist in a New York City police precinct in 1924. On the surface, there’s nothing remarkable about Rose. She lives in a boarding house and works hard at her job. Then she starts telling us about a new typist name
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seriously, it's difficult to believe this is a debut novel. I had to keep checking to be sure. It is so well written. Set during the roaring ‘20s during the Prohibition, it tells the story of two typists, Rose and Odalie, who work at a New York City police precinct. But that’s just the beginning...this is a real page turner of a psychological thriller with varied, interesting and memorable characters, characters both within and external to the precinct. But it is the unreliable narrator, Rose, w ...more
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, that fascinating unreliable narrator! How we love to hate her! Suzanne Rindell introduces a particularly mystifying narrator to the forefront in the person of Rose – a typist in the New York City Police Department during the time of the speakeasies.

Here are the facts, and just the facts, ma’am: Rose Baker, a young woman with a very fluid sense of self, is working in a particularly seedy police precinct as a stenographer and typist. Raised as an orphan in a convent, Rose prides herself on her
Rose is a prissy, obsessive, and unreliable narrator. She’s an uptight, seemingly upright, typist at a New York City police station in the 1920s. When a charismatic typist, Odalie, arrives one day at the precinct, Rose is instantly intrigued and seduced by her. Rose moves in with Odalie, who lives in a fancy hotel. We are led to believe that Odalie corrupts Rose, dressing her in riches and dragging her to speakeasies where bootleg booze is served.

As is true of most unreliable narrators, they ne
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Two is probably a little harsh, 2.5 is more accurate. My problem with this book is the same problem I had with the tv show Lost. They have in common interesting, well-written characters, intriguing backstories, and a strong sense of time and place. But they also have in common an incomprehensible ending that leaves you with more questions than it answers. I read through the reviews here and even did some google searches and the general consensus, even with the author's weigh-in, seems to be, "We ...more
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rose, the narrator, is a young typist in a NYC police precinct in 1923. An orphan raised by nuns, she is prim, repressed and smugly considers herself an astute observer of human nature. One day, a new typist is hired. Odalie has a husky, purring voice, expensive clothes and an alluring personality. Rose watches Odalie closely and before long, is under her spell. Odalie suggests Rose move in with her and they become roommates in Odalie’s posh hotel suite. Why would a humble typist be living in an ...more
Diane S ☔
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
3.5 I am not quite sure why but I seem to have read a few novels lately that have a naive young woman and another manipulative one. This one is very well written, a psychological tour de force, with an unreliable narrator and different revelations that keep you guessing. It is hard to tell for much of the book, how much of the truth is being told. Odalie is a prime piece of work, but although some things are not as they appear, some are and it is very hard to tell which is which and what is what ...more
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: debut, fiction
An all out character driven novel with a slow building plot with quite an ending. My kind of book! and should make a great book discussion.

Rindell fleshes out her character(s) quite well, with excellent narration, reliable or not, by Rose, the original typist. Rose Baker, clicks away her days in a New York police department back in the days of prohibition and the speakeasies. Rose is quite the formal young woman and takes her job quite seriously, making few mistakes and not tolerating any from o
They say there are two sides to every story, but sometimes perspective is so fractured and the truth so obscured that there could be any number of sides depending on who you talk to and when. This is part of the brilliance of The Other Typist: on one level it’s just a glamorous Jazz Age suspense story, but on another it’s an interrogation of truth in narrative, exposing how spoken and written testimonies can be misleading.

Rose Baker is our wonderfully unreliable narrator, and I suspect you’ll co
May 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The back cover of this book promises a lot..."a riveting page turner", "you'll stay up to all hours devouring its pages", "It's chilling to the very end", "messes with your head" I'm not sure, but I don't think we read the same book, or else the publisher mistakenly put the cover on the wrong book!! Have you ever tried watching paint dry? Well, I could pull up a comfortable chair, pour myself a glass of wine, and enjoy doing that more than I enjoyed reading this book….

So many times I felt bogged
Patricia Williams
Jul 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I finally finished this book! This was a hard read for me. The story was a good one and very interesting but it took too long to tell it. Story is told by the main character who tries to tell you everything about her life in great detail to explain why she ended up in a mental institution. Like I said the story sounded interesting but there was just too much detail. I have not advice on how the story could have been shortened but it needed to be for me to enjoy it. Sorry about this to the author ...more
Bonnie Brody
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell may be the most riveting page-turner that I have read this year. I was hooked on chapter one and barely came up for air. It is so well-written and consuming that it felt almost like an addiction.

The story is about a typist in a lower east side, New York, police precinct by the name of Rose Baker. Things are going fine where she works and she is a very quick and accurate typist. After the prohibition acts of 1923 were passed, more people got busted and thrown i
Betsy Robinson
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing

The combination of Suzanne Rindell's impeccable storytelling technique, plus the perfectly understated and prim voice of her narrator, Rose Baker (typist/transcriptionist for criminal confessions at a police department in 1923), plus a riveting story make The Other Typist irresistible and un-put-downable. And I think I would feel this even if I'd never worked as a typist and deposition transcriptionist.

However I did. So, boy, was this book fun. Rindell spills the big secrets of the job: how inti
Jennifer Masterson
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wow! Wow and Wow! I loved this novel! If you like historical fiction and/or a good mystery then this is your book! It's set during the Prohibition Era in New York City. Alfred Hitchcock meets The Great Gatsby in a character driven novel. I felt as if I was there with the two main characters Rose and Odalie. My head is still spinning from the ending!!! Highly recommend!!! ...more
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Idarah by: All The Books Podcast
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"I recognized something was happening the very second she walked in the door for her interview. 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."

Odalie/Rose...whoever she is...has got me in an uncomfortable position. I don't know whether I just liked or loved this book. I'm s
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do love reading of NYC in the 20's. Our narrator, Rose, works at a police station typing transcripts of interrogations there in 1924-25 New York City. She boasts of her professionalism on the job and her simple law-abiding life. Then another typist is added to the pool to help handle the increased arrests from the raiding of speakeasies. Rose is jealous and in awe of the new hire, and then simply Obsessed.

Soon you don't know what to believe about anything Rose is telling us. As she seems to
Leslye ♥
This is a terrific novel of psychological suspense set in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby was clearly a major influence, and the author does acknowledge an intentional homage to Fitzgerald.

The story really pulled me in from the beginning. Rose, the narrator, begins as a likeable character, but cracks slowly begin to appear as the story goes on. When mysterious Odalie begins to work in the same place as Rose, here begins a very flawed friendship that is much closer to obsession. The story of how pla
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A Novel Idea Book...: The Other Typist - Discussion Questions 1 6 Jul 15, 2019 06:18AM  
A Novel Idea Book...: July Book: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell 1 2 Jun 27, 2019 07:06AM  
Let's discuss the ending! 18 1434 Feb 12, 2018 01:53PM  
WHAT Happened at the end??? 56 655 Nov 08, 2017 07:57AM  

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Suzanne Rindell earned her PhD in English literature from Rice University in spring 2018. She is the author of the forthcoming historical mystery, THE TWO MRS. CARLYLES (July 28, 2020), as well as EAGLE & CRANE (2018), THREE-MARTINI LUNCH (2016) and THE OTHER TYPIST (2013). THE OTHER TYPIST has been translated into 15 languages and optioned for film by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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