Wednesday, November 06, 2019
World at War: Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions
First sentence: On the morning of her arrest, Edna Heustis awoke early and put her room in order.
Premise/plot: Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions is the third novel in Amy Stewart’s historical mystery series starring Constance Kopp. Kopp is kept busy in this one between her time as deputy sheriff, jail matron, and older sister. She becomes increasingly alarmed at several arrests of young women whose only crime is leaving home and living on their own—without their parents’ blessing. In the case of Edna, she’s over eighteen, working at a factory doing her part for the war, living in a respectable boarding house. Minnie Davis, on the other hand is under eighteen, living with a young man under the guise of being his wife. There is a phony marriage license. Though the stories are quite different, Constance feels for them both. Why should women be arrested for “immortality” but not the men? The real interest, however, comes in when she’s given an opportunity to practice what she preaches. Fleurette runs away to joins May Ward’s vaudeville troupe.
My thoughts: I missed Norma and Fleurette in the second novel. I did. So I was thrilled to see so much of them in this one. Kopp is not handling cases with dangerous, hardened criminals. Instead she is challenging the system. There’s a law in effect that is unjust or unfair. Kopp feels that if you are going to go after—arrest, send to trial, sentence, punish—immorality, then both parties not just the women should be targeted. To live on one’s own and work should not automatically be deemed immoral. Lives are being ruined because women often can’t hire a defense.
This one—out of the three I’ve read—has dealt most with the Great War. Edna is desperate to do something for the war effort. At first she thinks this means working in a factory. But then she hears about a project where women can go to France and volunteer for the Red Cross. It won’t be easy for Edna to get there, but her life has a new purpose.
The books still are based on true stories from the headlines.
© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews