Miss Kopp Investigates (A Kopp Sisters Novel)

Written by Amy Stewart
Review by Marlie Wasserman

In this charming seventh volume in the Kopp Sisters series, Amy Stewart tells the story of three unmarried sisters living in New Jersey in 1919, shortly after the war, each trying to forge a new identity. Constance, no longer the first woman sheriff of a town, finds employment in a department store. Norma, back from war work in France, busies herself selling the family farm to bring in money. The youngest sister, attractive Fleurette, accepts clandestine work offered by a lawyer specializing in divorce. A fourth woman, Bessie, is the newly widowed wife of the Kopps’ brother.

Readers follow the intertwined escapades of these women, usually from Fleurette’s point of view as she develops detective skills. Amy Stewart weaves together the story of Fleurette’s work on divorce cases with the mystery of why brother Francis left his widow in a terrible financial state. Stewart sets the women’s activities against the backdrop of changes that come with the end of the war, but historical references, including a few to the 1919 influenza, are relatively light. In the forefront is the story of single women, with limited means, trying to earn money and make decisions when options for such women are almost non-existent.

For the first third of the book, the action proceeds at a leisurely pace, and the mystery is not readily apparent. Yet readers will stay with the story because of Stewart’s well-drawn, differentiated, and compelling characters. We root for Fleurette as she carves out a career for herself and handles conflicts with her sisters. Stewart hints at the backstory for each character, but readers wanting to know more must seek out earlier volumes. Fans will eagerly await the next book in the series to learn about the Kopps’ success with their unconventional endeavors.