Over the past couple of years, Amy Stewart has caused existence Constance Kopp, one of the first girls deputy sheriffs from the country, in her collection of bestselling detective novels. And at the time Constance and her sisters Norma and Fleurette have exploded into popular culture: They’re now the topics of a humorous Drunk History sketch and an in-development restricted series being produced by Elizabeth Banks.
Stewart, meanwhile, is attracting more of Constance’s exciting adventures to life for viewers to swallow. Her latest, Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit, features some timely political undertones too. The book tells the real story of Constance struggling with her job on the line, while at precisely the identical time resisting gender-based attacks in the 1916 sheriff’s elections. “She was not running for office she couldn’t even vote — but she had been a campaign issue for the sheriff’s election nonetheless,” Stewart tells EW. “The criticisms against her were relentless — which made it impossible for me to dismiss the similarities into the 2016 election season, especially since I began writing this novel on Nov. 10, 2016!”
In addition to entirely displaying the book’s cover and an excerpt, ” Stewart also teased the main plot of the book to EW, which can be based on actual events and talks to tensions of the present moment. “On one night at 1916, [Constance] had to manage an inmate escape and a woman wrongly committed into an insane asylum,” she clarifies. “Both of those events breathed out in ways she couldn’t predict. She completed a daring rescue at the Hackensack River, which you see [below] about the cover. This made headlines nationwide in a way never would have occurred for a man deputy. She faced a nasty backlash as a result. Then, by digging into the murky circumstances which frequently encompass women being dedicated to asylums, she moved up against strong public officials and exposed serious wrongdoing.”
You may have a look at the cover and excerpt to get Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit, the fourth in the series, under. Pre-order the book here ahead of its own Sept. 11 release.
Excerpt from “Miss Kipp Just Won’t Quit,” by Amy Stewart
On the day I chose Anna Kayser into the insane asylum, I was first obliged to capture a thief.
I say “obliged” as if it had been a hardship, however, in fact I like a good chase. A man visiting a crime scene presents any sworn officer with the rare gift of an easy win. Nothing is more heartening than the usual good arrest, created after a tiny gratifying physical effort, especially when the thief is caught in the action and there are no bothersome questions later about a lack of proof or an unreliable witness.
My duties are barely ever so straightforward, and my successes seldom so decisive, as Anna Kayser’s situation would reveal. Maybe this is the reason why the business with the thief lingers so clearly in my memory.
The scene of this specific crime was that the Italian butcher in which I liked to stop for my lunch. The proprietor, Mr. Giordano, set a kind of Italian sausage known as salsicciotto on Tuesdays he experienced with salt and peppercorns, then smothered in olive oil for two months, to remarkable effect. He could sell every last one in an afternoon if he wanted to, but by doling out them on Tuesdays, he found he could tempt people into his store once a week and make sure that they left with all manner of goods imported from Italy: soap, or perfume, hard cheese, enameled plates, lemon candy. The profits from those trinkets helped compensate for the price of shipping over the priciest olive oil in which he ages that the salsicciotto. I had been but one of several willing participants in his own scheme. Along with the sausage I took a bag of lemon candy each week, finding it useful to distribute during interrogations.
The guy ran out of the store just as I round the corner on Passaic Avenue. Mr. Giordano gave instance, but the thief had the benefit: he had been trim, while the butcher was a rotund gentleman of advanced age who could do little more than stump along, huffing and shaking his fist.
He would have been out of chance, but there I was, in my uniform, outfitted with a weapon, handcuffs, and a badge. I did exactly what any officer of the law would do: I revived my purse under my arm, gathered my skirts in my hands, and ran down him.
Mr. Giordano heard my boots thumping along behind him on the wooden pavement and jumped out of the way. I have to’ve given him a start, since he launched into a coughing fit if he saw who’d come to his rescue.
In providing chase, I flew past a livery driver watering his horses, then a druggist sweeping his store, and a boy of twelve staring idly to a bookstore window. The boy was too engrossed or slow-witted to measure out of the way. I am not able to say I shoved him down into the floor, rather about. I hated to do it, but kids are hardy and fast to heal. I hurried on.
The thief himself had not return and had no idea who had been in pursuit, which was a pity, as men frequently stumble and lose their work when confronted by a lady deputy. I was always pleased to use the element of surprise to my benefit. However, that one ducked down a side street, deft as you, no doubt thinking that if he stayed on bustling Passaic Avenue, much more passers-by will combine the chase and he would soon be captured.
The detour did not bother me, however. I chose to care for him on a silent tree-lined street, with no longer danger of loiterers stumbling into my path. I round the corner and picked up speed.
He chose for his escape a neighborhood of large and tasteful homes that offered hardly any places to hide. I closed the space between us was already on the lookout for a soft patch of grass forward about which to toss him down, but he watched a chance beforehand. He’d done this earlier — I had to charge him that. He hurled himself over a low fence into a garden.
This is where an Loaded man of small build has the benefit. I had been forced to abandon my handbag and to heft myself over the fence at the most undignified way. Hems captured on claws, seams split, and stockings were to ribbons. I stumbled upon one knee and knew right away I’d be limping for a week. It happened to me, in the beginning, to wonder what, exactly, the guy had stolen, and if he was actually worth grabbing. If I’d abandoned the chase at the moment, no one — not Mr. Giordano — would have blamed me.
However, regardless, I had to get him. The man stumbled into a garden populated by placid hens under the supervision of a overworked bantam rooster. He (the guy, not the rooster) turned his mind just long enough to cast a glimpse at the chicken coop, which may’ve offered him a hiding spot, a poultry meal, or both, had I never been pounding along behind him.
The next barrier was just a low stone wall. He cleared it using a nimble leap, as though he did that kind of thing daily, and he probably did. I tossed one leg over and knocked a couple of stone loose with the opposite, but by then I was just five feet saw success beforehand.
It had been my great good fortune another garden maintained no chickens or any other kind of deterrent, just a generous expanse of lawn fringed by an inviting bed of chrysanthemums which lent me the soft landing place I needed.
“Oooof” was all he could say when I took him by the collar and tossed him down. I landed on top of him, which was just as well, since his shirt ripped when I caught him and he might’ve slipped right out of it disappeared, had I thrown myself onto him.
I didn’t mention a thing at first, since I’d given that final spat all I had and would not have lasted a moment longer. It took us a brief while to recover ourselves. Nobody had been at home in the house whose garden we’d simply trampled: otherwise, the sight of a somewhat considerably sized lady sprawled atop a slender shop-thief certainly would have brought the entire family out.
Once we had been sitting erect, and I had a firm grip on your burglar’s arm, we sized up each other for the first time. I found myself in possession of a tired-looking factory man, together with the bloodshot eyes and glazed facet of a drunkard.
The thief, for his part, did not seem particularly surprised to have been captured by a tall lady in a battered grey hat. The business of thievery leads to all kinds of surprises: one must be prepared for novelties. He strove half-heartedly to shrug me off and muttered something in what I took to be Polish. As soon as I refused to go, he permitted himself to be dragged to his toes. The papery orange petals of the chrysanthemums stuck into us, making us seem as though we’d been showered in confetti. I didn’t bother to brush off them. The guy had not been handcuffed and was likely to be slippery.
“Let us see exactly what you stole,” I proposed. When he just looked in my dejectedly, I pulled open his coat and found inside a long and slender salami (not the salsicciotto, mind you — those were stored behind the counter under Mr. Giordano’s watchful eye — although the inexpensive type that hung from the window and were easy to snatch.) He’d also lifted a loaf of bread, now flattened, and a bottle of the yellowish Italian spirits that Mr. Giordano marketed as a healing.
It was not much of a haul, but thinking about the trouble he put me through. I hated to throw a guy in jail for raping his lunch and bore a faint hope that I would return into the shopkeeper and negotiate a truce.
“What’s your title?” I inquired (sternly, one had to be stern).
He spat on the floor, which had been every habitual criminal’s idea of the way to dismiss a query put to him from law.
“You made an awful lot of trouble” I slid the handcuffs from my belt and bound his wrists behind his back. “Try and work up a persuasive apology before we get there.”
The man seemed to take my meaning and perhaps had some idea that I could be trying to assist him, as much as every other officer would. He had a resignation about him that suggested he’d done all this before. He walked limply together with me, along with his head. For a guy who gave such a spirited chase, he had been gentle as a bundle of rags under my grip.
I retrieved my purse at the edge of the fence and in a couple of minutes we were back at the store. Mr. Giordano was sitting out in an overturned barrel with the anticipation of a guy waiting along a parade route. When we round the corner, he jumped up, shining, and clapped his hands together. He was quite pleasant-looking: old Italian men are. His eyes gleamed, his cheeks were ruddy, and he awakens with unabashed pleasure at the prospect of a good story to tell more than the dinner table that night.
Then came the words I’d been expecting not to hear.
“He took me from me! He steal whatever I’ve. Egg, butter, soap, shoe, tin plate , button” Mr. Giordano ticked off the items along with his stubby fingers.
It made for quite a record, but I did not doubt it. The store was overfull of small product, easy to pocket.
“He stole needful items, then,” I offered, hoping to play to his sympathies.
“Needful! I just sell needful things! Look down his trousers. Black shoes for small girl.”
It hardly need be said I had no need to search down his trousers and was thankful for the thief for sparing us equally the indignity. He appeared well-versed at the international language of accusative shopkeepers, and shook his trousers as aggressively as he had been considering that his wrists were cuffed together. It had been enough to make the shoes — miniature darling shoes of a sort rarely found in Hackensack — collapse from his trousers.
The shopkeeper snatched them up triumphantly, and rummaged through the man’s pockets for the rest of his stolen merchandise. He looked disgusted over the state of the loaf of bread, but set the salami carefully apart for resale and tucked the bottle of liquor to his apron.
He then poked at my badge, which occurs more frequently than one may think. People today appear to feel that they have the right to put their hands around a deputy’s star, like they have it.
“Sheriff?” He asked. “Sheriff Heath? Proceed. He understands this one” He then pushed his finger to the burglar’s chest. I had to step between them all this poking escalated into fisticuffs.
With the probability of a peaceful settlement ever more remote, I said, “Mr. Giordano, are you quite sure this is the guy who stole from you earlier? Could not it have been somebody else? These thieves go incredibly quickly and it’s difficult to get a good look at them.”
Mr. Giordano stuck out his chin defiantly. “No. It is him. Proceed to his property. Look for tin plates with colored roses. Look for sewing box using Giordano tag. My wife!”
The effrontery of the theft of Mrs. Giordano’s stitching kit has been a lot for the guy who did this, for he, too, turned shamefacedly away.
“He make money, also, however, you won’t discover that,” the shopkeeper said. “All gone.”
That changed things. Money made it a severe crime.
“Are you ever reported him to the authorities?” I inquired.
Mr. Giordano nodded sharply. “I report, I report, I report. Ask the sheriff.”
What could I do, then, but to take him into prison? I was the man’s shirt pockets for good measure and found that a package of handkerchiefs with the Giordano ribbon attached. When he had something else tucked away, it might fall into the man guards to find it.
“I am sorry, Mr. Giordano, and this guy is sorry also,” I offered. The thief did not respond to a firm shake of their arm, so he tapped him under the chin and forced him raise his eyes.
“Zorry,” the thief said.
Mr. Giordano spat on the sidewalk. “Poles.”
Excerpted from Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit by Amy Stewart. Copyright © 2018 from Amy Stewart. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved