I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I hesitated over this book; a few friends thought it was so-so, but I was able to buy a copy at the library sale and I'm perfectly willing to pay a dollar for a story that might be just ok.
Happily I didn't find it to be just so-so; I really, really enjoyed this book. I knew Amy Stewart could write interesting non-fiction (I have both her Drunken Botanist and Wicked Plants) but her fictional world was so easy to fall into. All three sisters were well fleshed-out; Fleurette was a brat, Norma a cranky recluse and Constance a strong, independent woman who finds herself in extraordinary circumstances after just trying to get by for most of her life.
The pacing of the novel is slower than most and the book is absent just about all the over worn tropes of both the historical fiction and mystery genres it could fall under. No romance, no TSTL decisions, no "I'm smarter than the authorities" nonsense. But it wasn't boring; I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to find out what Kaufman was going to do next.
The cherry on top for me was that all the tired tropes are missing because the story is based on actual events. I knew this going in, but until the end, reading the acknowledgements and historical notes section, I didn't fully appreciate just how much of the story is historical fact. Fully 80% of the story happened as it's written, and a decent amount of historical material is used verbatim throughout. The author makes careful note in the acknowledgements to specify which parts of the story are fictionalised and which are not.
If you like your characters to be of the strong, female persuasion and enjoy an historical context, this one might be worth checking out. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read made all the more interesting by the facts behind it (although I'll argue the pull quote on the cover calling it "hysterical" is false; it was fun, but it wasn't ha-ha funny).
I've ordered the second book Lady Cop Makes Trouble and I'm looking forward to more Kopp adventures.