“It’s True Grit, New York style.”—New York Post
“One of the best mystery novels of the year: wonderful and very entertaining.”
—New York Journal of Books
“Stewart deftly combines the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of early twentieth-century New York City with the story of three women who want to live life on their own terms.”
—Library Journal, starred review
In 1915, lady cops were not expected to chase down fugitives on the streets of New York City. But Constance Kopp never did what anyone expected.
Constance and her sisters aren’t living the quiet life anymore. They’ve made headlines fighting back against a ruthless silk factory owner and his gang of thugs. After Sheriff Heath sees Constance in action, he appoints her as one of the nation’s first female deputies. But when a German-speaking con man threatens her position—and puts the honorable sheriff at risk for being thrown in his own jail—Constance will be forced to prove herself again.
Based on the Kopp sisters’ real-life adventures, Girl Waits with Gun introduced the sensational lives of Constance Kopp and her sisters to an army of enthusiastic readers. This second installment, also ripped from the headlines, takes us farther into the riveting story of a woman who defied expectations, forged her own path, and tackled crime along the way.
“A fast-moving, craftily written novel.”—BookPage
“[An] irresistible madcap adventure.”—PopSugar
“Stewart leaves the reader wondering about one mystery still developing unsolved . . . Readers will just have to wait—impatiently, no doubt—for book No. 3.”—Boston Globe
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Miss Constance Kopp, who once hid behind a tree near her home in Wyckoff, N.J., for five hours waiting to get a shot at a gang of Black Handers who had annoyed her, is now a Deputy Sheriff of Bergen County, N.J., and a terror to evildoers.
— New York Press, December 20, 1915
YOUNG GIRL WANTED — GOOD WAGE. Well-to-do man seeking a housekeeper who is matrimonially minded. Room and board offered. Reply to box-holder 4827.
I handed the newspaper back to Mrs. Headison. “I suppose you replied to the box-holder?”
She nodded briskly. “I did, posing as a girl who had just come to town from Buffalo, with experience not in housekeeping, but in dancing, and with aspirations for the stage. We can all imagine what he must have made of that.”
I didn’t like to imagine it, owing to the fact that a youthful aspirant to the stage lived under my own roof, but I had to admit that the trick worked. Sheriff Heath and I read the man’s reply, which invited her to visit at her earliest convenience and promised an offer of marriage if she proved worthy of it.
“Any number of girls have auditioned for the job and are still awaiting that offer of marriage,” she sniffed. “I’ve seen them going in and out of his house. As my position is only advisory in nature, I’m under instructions to report any suspicious findings to the police chief, who sends an officer to make the arrest. But this man lives out here in Bergen County, so we’re handing the matter over to you.”
Belle Headison was Paterson’s first policewoman. She was a slight figure with narrow shoulders and hair the color of weak tea. Her eyes were framed by brass-rimmed spectacles that recalled the inner workings of a standing clock. Everything about her seemed upright and tightly wound.
I was New Jersey’s first lady deputy sheriff. I’d never met another woman in law enforcement. The summer of 1915 felt like a brave and bright new age.
Mrs. Headison had arranged to meet us at the train station in Ridgewood, not far from the man’s house. We stood on the platform, under the only awning that cast any shade. In spite of the late August heat, it gave me a bracing thrill to think about going after anyone who would so casually advertise for a girl in the newspaper.
The sheriff took another look at the letter. “Mr. Meeker,” he said. “Harold Meeker. Well, ladies, let’s go pay him a visit.”
Mrs. Headison took a step back. “Oh, I’m not sure what use I’d be.”
But Sheriff Heath wouldn’t hear it. “It’s your case,” he said cheerfully. “You should get the satisfaction of seeing it through to the end.” Nothing made him happier than the prospect of catching a criminal, and he couldn’t imagine why anyone else wouldn’t feel the same.
“But I don’t usually go along with the officers,” she said. “Why don’t you go, and Miss Kopp and I will wait here?”
“I brought Miss Kopp along for a reason,” the sheriff said, ushering us both off the platform and into his motor car. Mrs. Headison stepped in with some reluctance and we drove through town.
On the way, Mrs. Headison told us about her work at the Travelers’ Aid Society, where she helped girls who came to Paterson with no family or job prospects. “They get off the train and find no difficulty in making their way to the most disreputable boarding-houses and the tawdriest dance halls,” she said. “And if she’s a pretty girl, the saloons will give her supper and drink, free of charge. Of course, nothing comes free, but the girls aren’t so easily convinced of that. It’s their first time away from home and they’ve forgotten everything their mothers taught them, if they were taught anything at all.”
Mrs. Headison, it developed, had been widowed in 1914. On the first anniversary of the death of her husband, a retired constable, she read about New Jersey’s new law allowing women to serve as police officers. “It was as if John were speaking to me from the hereafter and telling me that I had a new calling. I went right to the Paterson police chief and made my application.”
Sheriff Heath and I attempted to offer our congratulations but she continued without taking a breath. “Do you know that he hadn’t even considered adding a woman to his force? I had to argue my case, and you can be sure I did. Do you know why he was so reluctant? The chief told me himself that if women start going about in uniforms, armed with guns and clubs, we would turn into little men.”
I cast the sheriff a look of horror but he kept his eyes straight ahead.
“I assured him that my position in the police department would be exactly the same as that of a mother in the home. Just as a mother tends to her children and issues a kind word of warning or encouragement, I would carry out my duty as a woman and bring a mother’s ideals into the police department. Wouldn’t you agree, Miss Kopp? Haven’t you become quite the mother hen at the sheriff’s department?”
I hadn’t thought of myself as a mother hen, but then again, I’d seen a hen peck an errant chick so sharply that she drew blood, so perhaps Mrs. Headison was right. For the last two months, I’d been riding along anytime a woman or a girl was caught up in some criminal matter. I’d served divorce papers to an estranged wife, investigated a charge of illegal cohabitation, chased down a girl attempting to run away on a train, put clothes on a prostitute who was found naked and half-dead from opium in a card room above a tailor’s shop, and sat with a mother of three while the sheriff and his men ran through the woods looking for her husband, over whose head she had broken a bottle of brandy. The husband was returned to her, although she wouldn’t let him inside until he promised, in front of the sheriff, to bring no more drink into her house.
It would be no exaggeration to say that the moments I have just described were among the finest of my life. The prostitute had soiled herself and had to be washed in the card room’s dingy basin, and the girl running for the train bit my arm when I caught her, and still I assert that I had never been more content. Improbable as it may sound, I had, at last, found work that suited me.
I didn’t know how to explain any of that to Mrs. Headison. To my relief, we arrived at Mr. Meeker’s before I had to. The sheriff drove just past his house and parked a few doors down.
He lived in a modest shingled home with painted shutters and a small front porch that looked to have been added on recently. There was a window open in his living room and the sound of piano music drifted into the front yard.
“Someone’s at home,” Sheriff Heath said. “Miss Kopp, you’ll knock at the door and we’ll stay down here. If there’s a girl in there now, I don’t want to scare her off. Try to get her to come to you. We’re not going to arrest her for waywardness, but she doesn’t know that.”
“That’s fine,” I said.
Mrs. Headison stared at the two of us as if we’d just proposed a safari to Africa.
“You aren’t going to send her to the door unguarded, are you? What if —”
She stopped when she saw me take my revolver from my handbag and tuck it into my pocket. It was the same one the sheriff issued to me the previous year when my family was being harassed: a Colt police revolver, dark blue, just small enough to conceal in the pockets Fleurette stitched into all my jackets and dresses for that purpose.
“Do they have you carrying a gun? Why, the police chief —”
“I don’t work for the police chief.” I felt the sheriff’s eyes on me when I said it. The fact that we were doing something the police chief wouldn’t have dared gave me a great deal of satisfaction.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
historical-fiction, historical-places-events, historical-research, action-adventure, law-enforcement, family-dynamics What do Amy Stewart and Clive Cussler have in common? Great storytelling and impeccable historical research! As a mystery I really enjoyed it, as law enforcement history it is excellent well done, and as a window into the lives of women a hundred years ago it is an education for the uneducated. I totally enjoyed it! Christina Moore does a great job as narrator, and really adds positive things to the story!
Lady deputy controversy on all fronts in Amy Stewart’s LADY COP MAKES TROUBLE. Makes trouble indeed . . . for the bad guys. Pity the foolish miscreant who comes up against Constance Kopp. There is hope for redemption for those who seek it, as both she and Sheriff Heath believe in rehabilitation, and their courteous approach gets information from many who wouldn’t otherwise share. They might not stop all crime or catch all the criminals, but they do what they can and “get back to work.” I enjoyed this, second in a series, and am looking forward to the third. Characters one cares about, prose that flows masterfully, interesting descriptions and historical details — it’s hard to define what makes a book special and mesmerizing, but this one has it. NYC “law . . . requires that deputies be eligible voters” — women couldn’t vote yet. On stakeout, “The job requires a particular kind of focus.” Criminals are “like fish out there, swimming through a net . . . We catch a few of them . . . slow them down . . . We don’t win.” Ending with Fleurette’s Christmas pageant and HOPE. “Hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.”
Having not read the first in this series, I was unsure what it would be like to jump into this book without the backstory. I am happy to say I thoroughly enjoyed Lady Cop Makes Trouble and didn’t feel the story was hard to follow at all. Constance Kopp, who is based on a real woman of the same name, has proven herself in the previous installment and become a deputy sheriff, albeit without a badge yet. As Lady Cop Makes Trouble opens in the year 1915, Constance finds out that her position may be in jeopardy based on the current New Jersey law. Already stressed by this news, Constance manages to let a German con man escape from a hospital where she is guarding him, further compromising her position as a deputy sheriff. In hot pursuit of Dr. von Matthesius, Constance travels all over New Jersey and New York City trying to locate him to return him to jail and also attempting to piece together his original crime in hopes that will lead her to him. Stewart vividly portrays her characters, and I felt like I knew Constance, her sisters, and Sheriff Heath. Constance faced so many issues as a female law enforcement officer; some issues that I think people would argue are still faced today. Stewart was so on point with individual’s reactions to Constance as a female deputy during this time period – sadly even some women were skeptical. The covers for this series are absolutely phenomenal. The graphics are outstanding and unique and so cleverly capture the spirit of the story. I also enjoyed Amy Stewart’s Historical Notes, Sources, and Acknowledgements section at the end of the book. As a lover of historical fiction, I am always thrilled to find such a section from the author providing information about the real life characters about which the story is based. Stewart provides incredible detail and explains what really occurred and what she added to the story. I love this because it really helps me put her story in context and understand what truly happened and what she created to make such a fun novel. Authors don’t always take the time and effort to write such a section, and I so appreciate when an author like Stewart does. I highly recommend this clever, insightful novel about events I knew very little about. Thanks to Edelweiss and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
In Lady Cop Makes Trouble, Amy Stewart serves up a delightful concoction of history and fiction. The second book in the story of intrepid female deputy Constance Kopp, this book was hard to put down. Ms. Stewart writes in such a fashion that you feel like you stepped right into 1915. It is so well-written, that I had to keep reminding myself that these were real people and events. I won't give away any spoilers, but suffice it to say that Ms. Kopp was a pioneer in law enforcement. Loved it, and can't wait for the next Kopp story!
I liked this book a lot. I was very frustrated at first until I realized I was reading book 2 of the series. Duh! My senior moment aside, I really liked Constance Kopp and she has the perfect name. She represents a lot of problems for a female during the early 1900's, as well as just being a female working with all males. However, the fact is she is really good at what she does, wins me over hands down. I was let down when she didn't mention the gloves the lawyer just happened to have during the last court trial while Von whatever (the Baron) puts on his Academy Award winning performance to the Sheriff. Who just happens to have latex gloves on them? That was the only part that I caught, it could be different in the printed version. I really did enjoy reading this book, I was mesmerized and did not want to put it down. I also liked the fact that the Sheriff was, for the most part, on Constance's side trying to get a female on his team. The story was well written with likable characters and I can see this series going much further. I would read them (I definitely need to read book 1). I really like the covers too. They look like they would be from that era. Huge thanks to Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.