Girl Waits with Gun (Kopp Sisters Series #1)

Girl Waits with Gun (Kopp Sisters Series #1)

by Amy Stewart


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544409910
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Series: Kopp Sisters Series , #1
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

AMY STEWART is the award-winning author of seven books, including her acclaimed fiction debut Girl Waits With Gun and the bestsellers The Drunken Botanist and Wicked Plants. She and her husband live in Eureka, California, where they own a bookstore called Eureka Books.

Read an Excerpt

Our troubles began in the summer of 1914, the year I turned thirty-five. The Archduke of Austria had just been assassinated, the Mexicans were revolting, and absolutely nothing was happening at our house, which explains why all three of us were riding to Paterson on the most trivial of errands. Never had a larger committee been convened to make a decision about the purchase of mustard powder and the replacement of a claw hammer whose handle had split from age and misuse.

Against my better judgment I allowed Fleurette to drive. Norma was reading to us from the newspaper as she always did.

“‘Man’s Trousers Cause Death,’ ” Norma called out.

“It doesn’t say that.” Fleurette snorted and turned around to get a look at the paper. The reins slid out of her hands.

“It does,” Norma said. “It says that a Teamster was in the habit of hanging his trousers over the gas jet at night but, being under the influence of liquor, didn’t notice that the trousers smothered the flame.”

“Then he died of gas poisoning, not of trousers.”

“Well, the trousers —”

The low, goosey cry of a horn interrupted Norma. I turned just in time to see a black motor car barreling toward us, tearing down Hamilton and picking up speed as it crossed the intersection. Fleurette jumped up on the footboard to wave the driver off.

“Get down!” I shouted, but it was too late.

The automobile hit us broadside, its brakes shrieking. The sound of our buggy shattering was like a firecracker going off in our ears. We tumbled over in a mess of splintered wood and bent metal. Our harness mare, Dolley, faltered and went down with us. She let out a high scream, the likes of which I had never heard from a horse.

Something heavy pinned my shoulder. I reached around and found it was Norma’s foot. “You’re standing on me!”

“I am not. I can’t even see you,” Norma said.

Our wagon rocked back and forth as the motor car reversed its engine and broke free of the wreckage. I was trapped under the overturned rear seat. It was as dark as a coffin, but there was a dim shape below me that I believed to be Fleurette’s arm. I didn’t dare move for fear of crushing her.

From the clamor around us, I gathered that someone was trying to rock the wagon and get it upright. “Don’t!” I yelled. “My sister’s under the wheel.” If the wheel started to turn, she’d be caught up in it.

A pair of arms the size of tree branches reached into the rubble and got hold of Norma. “Take your hands off me!” she shouted.

“He’s trying to get you out,” I called. With a grunt, she accepted the man’s help. Norma hated to be manhandled.

Once she was free, I climbed out behind her. The man attached to the enormous arms wore an apron covered in blood. For one terrible second, I thought it was ours, then I realized he was a butcher at the meat counter across the street.

He wasn’t the only one who had come running out when the automobile hit us. We were surrounded by store clerks, locksmiths, grocers, delivery boys, shoppers — in fact, most of the stores on Market Street had emptied, their occupants drawn to the spectacle we were now providing. Most of them watched from the sidewalk, but a sizable contingent surrounded the motor car, preventing its escape.

The butcher and a couple of men from the print shop, their hands black with ink, helped us raise the wagon just enough to allow Fleurette to slide clear of the wheel. As we lifted the broken panels off her, Fleurette stared up at us with wild dark eyes. She wore a dress sheathed in pink taffeta. Against the dusty road she looked like a trampled bed of roses.

“Don’t move,” I whispered, bending over her, but she got her arms underneath herself and sat up.

“No, no, no,” said one of the printers. “We’ll call for a doctor.”

I looked up at the men standing in a circle around us.

“She’ll be fine,” I said, sliding a hand over her ankle. “Go on.” Some of those men looked a little too eager to help with the examination of Fleurette’s legs. They shuffled off to help two livery drivers, who had disembarked from their own wagons to tend to our mare.

They freed her from the harness and she struggled to stand. The poor creature groaned and tossed her head and blew steam from her nostrils. The drivers fed her something from their pockets and that seemed to settle her.

I gave Fleurette’s calf a squeeze. She howled and jerked away from me.

“Is it broken?” she asked.

I couldn’t say. “Try to move it.”

She screwed her face into a knot, held her breath, and gingerly bent one leg and then the other. When she was finished she let her breath go all at once and looked up at me, panting.

“That’s good,” I said. “Now move your ankles and your toes.”

We both looked down at her feet. She was wearing the most ridiculous white calfskin boots with pink ribbons for laces.

“Are they all right?” she asked.

I put my hand on her back to steady her. “Just try to move them. First your ankle.”

“I meant the boots.”

That’s when I knew Fleurette would survive. I unlaced the boots and promised to look after them. A much larger crowd had gathered, and Fleurette wiggled her pale-stockinged toes for her new audience.

“You’ll have quite a bruise tomorrow, miss,” said a lady behind us.

The seat that had trapped me a few moments ago was resting on the ground. I helped Fleurette into it and took another look at her legs. Her stockings were torn and she was scratched and bruised, but not broken to bits as I’d feared. I offered my handkerchief to press against one long and shallow cut along her ankle, but she’d already lost interest in her own injuries.

“Look at Norma,” she whispered with a wicked little smile. My sister had planted herself directly in the path of the motor car to prevent the men from driving away. She did make a comical sight, a small but stocky figure in her split riding skirt of drab cotton. Norma had the broad Slavic face and thick nose of our father and our mother’s sour disposition. Her mouth was set in a permanent frown and she looked on everyone with suspicion. She stared down the driver of the motor car with the kind of flat-footed resolve that came naturally to her in times of calamity.

The automobilist was a short but solidly built young man who had an overfed look about him, hinting at a privileged life. He would have been handsome if not for an indolent and spoiled aspect about his eyes and the tough set of his mouth, which suggested he was accustomed to getting his way. His face was puffy and red from the heat, but also, I suspected, from a habit of putting away a quart of beer at breakfast and a bottle of wine at night. He was dressed exceedingly well, in striped linen trousers, a silk waistcoat with polished brass buttons, and a tie as red as the blood seeping through Fleurette’s stockings.

His companions tumbled out of the car and gathered around him as if standing guard. They wore the plain broadcloth suits of working men and carried themselves like rats who weren’t accustomed to being spotted in the daylight. Each of them was unkempt and unshaven, and a few kept their hands in their pockets in a manner that suggested they might be reaching for their knives. I couldn’t imagine where this gang of ruffians had been off to in such a hurry, but I was already beginning to regret that we had been the ones to get in their way.

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Girl Waits with Gun 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am am avid reader, always looking for something new and interesting to read and this was definitely it. So many stories start out with a good story line and then incidents within the storyline become too convenient just to make events work out. This book did none of that and kept me anxiously waiting to read more. It's great to see such a strong woman's character written during a time when women were expected to depend on men. I loved the story and hope to read more about tge Kopp sisters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author brought this story to life. Constance proved to be a truly strong and compassionate heroine facing a callous and terrifying foe. It was hard to put down. I hope there are more Knopp stories to come!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love to be in the middle of a good book and picked this up to give it a try. Wow, Ms. Stewart has produced a winner in this tale of Constance, Norma, and Fleurette Kopp. I could not put it down! What adventures are ahead for them? More, please!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this family. These police and a super ending. Wonderfully strong women. What fun and inspiration Suz
cloggiedownunder 5 months ago
Girl Waits With Gun is the first book in the Kopp Sisters series by NYT best-selling American author, Amy Stewart. When, on a fine July day in 1914, silk factory heir Henry Kaufman recklessly drives his motorcar into the buggy conveying Constance Kopp and her sisters to town, the ladies suffer minor injuries but the buggy, their only means of transport, is wrecked. Henry and his thuggish friends make to drive off, but Constance refuses to be intimidated, vociferously insisting that he accept responsibility for the damage, which astonishes onlookers and annoys Henry. By November, the Kopp sisters have been the target of verbal abuse, written “Black Hand” threats, damage to their home and attempted arson, and Constance’s sister Norma is convinced that withdrawal would have been a better course of action. Of course, sixteen-year-old Fleurette, so far protected from the world, just finds it all terribly exciting. It’s not just the demands for reparation that have attracted the ire of young Kaufman: Constance also seems to have involved herself in a possible kidnapping case in which Kaufman is implicated. And even with Sheriff Robert Heath allocating deputies to protect the sisters, they seem to be in dire straits when the latest threat arrives. Readers new to the Kopp Sisters series may be surprised learn from Stewart’s Historical Notes and Sources that Constance Kopp and her sisters were real people, much as described, as are quite a few of the other characters. Many of the events that form the plot also occurred, if not always when stated. Stewart takes the known historical facts and fleshes them out into a marvellous tale. What won’t amaze is the utter dependence and powerlessness of women at this time in history. Stewart effortlessly portrays the characteristics of everyday life of the early twentieth century and clearly demonstrates how different life was over a hundred years ago. Miss Kopp, however, is clever, resourceful and persistent, although not even these qualities can protect her from some adverse events. Her fierce protectiveness of her sisters adds to her appeal. The print column headlines to which the sisters continuously draw each other’s attention, or occasionally invent to suit their particular situation, are often a source of humour. There is some first-rate detective work done, and the last line will have readers eager for the next instalment, Lady Cop Makes Trouble. Excellent historical crime fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good plot and interesting view into the past.
Mpls_Reader More than 1 year ago
Girl Waits with Gun is an excellent read. I appreciate that it is based on a true story of women who took charge in an earlier era when only men had any authority or clout. This book is a reminder of the women who went before us, refused to stand down and made a real difference. Thanks to Amy Stewart for helping us realize the bravery of women during this period of US history. Possibly this book will resonate enough to make the HS reading lists. I hope so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, interesting and funny story. I found it even more enjoyable since it's based on real people.
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Constance wants paid for the accident that destroyed their farm cart but instead she and her sisters get harassed and threatened by the head of a silk company. She takes steps to protect herself and her family. I enjoyed this book. Constance and her sisters are unusual for the period in which they live. The story started slowly but picked up as Constance gets more involved in protecting her family and home as well as the mystery of what happened to a young silk worker's baby. Constance is smart and resourceful. She learns and is formidable. I liked her. I will be reading more of this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is entertaining and very well written. Love it!
Tracey_L More than 1 year ago
This book was chosen for my knitting book club (I crochet, but I'm a rebel like that!) and I almost gave it a pass. I knew nothing of the Kopp sisters, or how Constance was one of the nation's first female deputies, and wasn't particularly interested to learn. But upon buying a copy of Ms. Stewart's nonfiction book The Drunken Botanist for a friend for the holidays, I was reminded of this book and decided to give it a go. That was a great decision. The Kopps are the kind of women I could see myself being friends with - well, maybe not so much with Fleurette, she was fairly annoying, but quite realistically portrayed as they all were. The story was interesting and kept me turning the pages. Someone at book club mentioned that they thought there were two more books about Constance, and after reading this introduction, I'd be glad to read them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very enjoyable read!
Storytellermary More than 1 year ago
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy STEWART I found this book through a recommendation in Costco’s magazine, an unexpected membership bonus! This review may have a few spoilers, which I usually avoid, but not much spoilage, since the book is based on history . . . made personal w/ invented extras like homing pigeons carrying headlines back to the farm. Three intrepid sisters (or more than sisters) and a bold sheriff take on a bully mill owner — beginning with their invoice for a wrecked carriage, though intimidations, “brick mail,” and a search for a missing child (how DO they know so much about orphanages?) Constance Kopp is “no ordinary woman.” “If this is how he treats us, what has he done to Lucy?’ “Norma believed self-propelled vehicles to be a path to lawlessness and social chaos. Mr. Kaufmann was only strengthening her argument.” Newspapers “got quite a bit wrong” — fabricated half the story. Gift to Fleurette “the realization that we have to be part of the world in which we live. . . . We don’t run and hide.” Lucy and son “formed their own planet in the middle of the room, rotating around a sun that only they could see.” Too “conspicuous” to be department store detective — advised to find something more “rough and tumble.” Good advice! Happy to know there are two more in the series, as I was a little sad to reach the end of this very readable book.
thelonereader More than 1 year ago
I’d heard of this book before, and it was on my to-be-read (TBR) list, but I never really gave it too much thought. However, the other day, I walked into an indie bookstore and saw this on display – it was a beautiful paperback, the cover felt like newspaper to the touch. I didn’t plan on buying anything, but guess what I came home with? I regret nothing. Girl Waits With Gun is a story about three sisters. The main character, Constance Kopp, is riding into town with her two sisters, Norma and Fleurette, when someone crashes into them and destroys their buggy. Constance politely asks for the money necessary to repair the vehicle, but it turns out that the men who crashed into them are not ordinary citizens. All of the sudden, the sisters find themselves under siege, more or less, by these dastardly villains, and it’s up to Constance to protect her sisters and attain justice against the criminals. Amongst all of this, there’s another mystery that must be solved, a potential romance – or maybe it’s all in my head – and a past that gives way to secrets. Did I have fun reading this? Heck yes. If you’ve watched Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix and really enjoyed it, then this book is most certainly for you. If you’ve watched Veronica Mars, the show, then this book is also for you. If you’ve watched them both like I have, then you, also, shall have a ton of fun with these characters. When I first started reading this, I got a lot of Miss Fisher’s feels in that Constance Kopp had a very similar voice. The further I read though, the more different the two became. While Miss Fisher is a bold, feminist, defy-the-norms lady detective, Constance is just a “normal” young woman. True, she’s in her thirties and has no interest in marriage, but she didn’t look for the detective life; it came looking for her. Similarly, she’s not what comes to mind when you hear the words “lady detective.” She relies a lot on the sheriff to keep her family safe and catch the criminals, but at the same time, she makes some courageous moves on her own, isn’t afraid to handle a gun, and also does some of her own snooping on the side. I expect that Constance will play more of the traditional detective role in the next book, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, but even if she doesn’t, I’m on board with anything she does. I went into this book expecting to find no romance, but I’m not sure that that’s the case. This may have just been me, but I believe that I definitely detected some angst between Constance and a certain character. To be honest, I can see there being a romance, but also there not being a romance, and I’m okay with it either way. The characters are very strong on their own, and I absolutely love the writing style of the book – it really gets you in the historical mystery-solving mood. In fact, the mood is very similar to that of Miss Fisher’s as well (which, if you haven’t watched it, is an A+ mood). Overall, I was very pleased with this book, and that’s saying something considering I’ve been in a constant book slump lately. The characters, their backstories, and the plot are all excellently portrayed, and I’m thinking that the next book I read will probably be the second installment in this series. I gave this book four stars (★★★★), and hello, I would so be into this being adapted for tv.
Tangen More than 1 year ago
I missed this one on a Giveaway, but was able to pick it up on sale later. When I started it, I realized that I had read it when it was hot and new from the public library. Didn't stop me from rereading it, though. Well researched history fictionalized to educate the rest of us. Constance was a real trailblazer for women not suited to the constraints ordinarily placed on single women in 1914 in the USA. The tale is told clearly and fluidly of a city woman with business interests who defended herself and her sisters against an influential madman and became one of the first women to be deputized. I really enjoyed it! Both times! I now have it in audio as well, and Christina Moore did really fine work as narrator.
PierresFamily More than 1 year ago
"Girl Waits with Gun" is a delightful crime adventure story. Amy Stewart skillfully blends historical incidents and characters, with fictional ones, to create a clever story about an adult "Nancy Drew" type character, and her sisters, as they seek justice against the man who victimized them. I hope will be a prequel for other Constance Kopp historical novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed girl waits with gun. Excitedly waiting for lady cop makes trouble that will be available in september.
carl-larsen More than 1 year ago
i bought this book because it was inexpensive. i was very pleasantly surprised. it was a gripping and enjoyable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kensi More than 1 year ago
I loved this story from the opening paragraphs to the last delightful line. I couldn't put this one down as I just fell in love with the Kopp sisters and how they responded when their insular world was cracked open. One of the few books that had me contemplating who I would cast in the movie/TV series version. I cannot wait for a sequel and hope this is a new mystery series.
MCT_Book_Club More than 1 year ago
Being a woman has never been easy, but being a woman, living alone with one’s sisters, on an isolated farm in 1915, becomes even more complicated for Constance Kopp. After a young, rich and belligerent silk factory owner hit their buggy with his motor car, the Kopp sisters bill him for damages. What should have been a simple manner of reimbursing them 50$ for the reparation turns into a year of kidnapping threats, flying bullets and cops camping in the sisters’ barn. To convict the culprit and his accomplices, the sheriff recruits Constance in the investigation. Along the way, a chance encounter forces Constance to confront a family secret and face their uncertain financial future. Based on true events, this novel introduces us to Constance Kopp, US’s first female deputy sheriff. She is depicted as a strong and stubborn woman who is determined to get reparation from the gang who recklessly damaged their buggy. After all, why should she accept another resolution than a man would! Her interactions with other characters illustrate clearly society’s expectations about “simple woman” and how she should act. The well-meaning, but oh so patronizing, “isn’t there a brother or an uncle who can take care of you?” question, asked more than once in the novel, is evidence of the place women occupied in society. Even if a little stereotypical, Constance, Norma and Fleurette Kopp take life in this novel. Norma, dependable and more conservative has a passion for pigeons, and Fleurette, childish and a little spoiled likes to design and sew new clothes. After some time, I felt like I could predict how they would react to new situations. Other secondary characters, such as the sheriff, are also well-fleshed and coherent. In fact, the less detailed characters are the villains of the book. Obviously, the author did not want to spend much time with them, or the documents she used did not offer more information about them. The gang felt like an ominous and ill-defined presence throughout the book, which was a really effective way to transmit the oppressive feeling felt by the sisters to the reader. I came to this book without knowing it was based on true events (in fact I discovered this information in the postface of the book). So, I was expecting a fast-paced story, with a gun-bearing too-modern heroin. What I discovered instead was a slower-paced book based more on the ambiance and social dynamics of the era than the action of the story. It was for me a good surprise: good because I took away a lot more from this book than I would have from a “simple” mystery, but some sections seemed to lag a little. All in all, I thought it was a good portrait of an era and of an exceptional woman and the circumstances that helped her show the world who she was and that she would not sit back and take the beating in silence. Constance Kopp is a model that should be known and followed by many young, and less young, ladies nowadays.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book; and it had some different ideas presented, However, at times it dragged a bit. I felt it could have been edited/shortened/tightened up just a bit and would have been a better read - for me. But I can see there could be future books with Constance Kopp as the main character - and I would definitely like to see what would happen to her and the rest of her family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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