Inspired by true events, Girl Waits With Gun is the first work of fiction from Amy Stewart, author of six nonfiction works including The Drunken Botanist and Wicked Plants.
In the summer of 1914, the three Kopp sisters’ horse-drawn buggy is rear ended by an automobile driven by wealthy Henry Kaufman.
Kaufman, owner of one of the many silk-dyeing plants in Paterson N.J., not only refuses to pay the fifty dollars compensation to the sisters, but initiates a campaign of intimidation and extortion.
At first glance, the reclusive Kopp women are no match for the nefarious Kaufman. But they toughen up fast. With some coaching from the local sheriff, they press the authorities for an arrest, learn to shoot a gun, manage the media, and finally testify at Kaufman’s trial.
None of this is easy for the unmarried Kopp women who live quietly on a farm. As the eldest, tall 35-year-old Constance takes the initiative. But Norma, the second eldest who raises carrier pigeons, and flighty 16-year old Fleurette are active participants as well.
The investigation and Kaufman’s trial were exhaustively covered by the local media, who appreciated the melodramatic story. (“Girl Waits With Gun” is an actual newspaper headline.) But after that, the sisters disappear from history, until Stewart brings them vividly back to life in this charming novel.
As the-real-life Constance goes on to run a detective agency with her sisters, I suspect this is the first of a series featuring the sleuthing sisters. As Stewart says, “the latter half of 1915 and all of 1916 were very interesting times for the Kopp sisters so there’s lots of rich material…”
I look forward to seeing what the Kopp girls get into next!
What Other Reviewers Think
Elizabeth Gilbert: “I loved every page of this smart, romping, hilarious novel.”
Who Wrote It
Amy Stewart is the award-winning author of six books, including the bestsellers The Drunken Botanist and Wicked Plants. She and her husband live in Eureka, CA, where they own a bookstore called Eureka Books.