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Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

This mystery/ novel takes place mainly in Patterson New Jersey around the time when crooks seemed to be in control. When it begins, the three Kopp sisters – Constance, Norma and Fleurette – are out driving in their buggy when they are hit by a car, ,which then just drives off. They have fifty dollars’ worth of damage which they can ill afford to pay. When Constance tries to collect the money, she hits a “brick wall”. Henry Kaufman is the owner. He more or less controls the city and is a nasty and cruel man.

Constance persists and the rest of the book is about the conflict that ensues between Constance and her family and Henry Kaufman and his thugs. They are threatened, shot at and their house almost burned down.

Fortunately, there is Sheriff Heath, a good and honest man, who comes to their aid. But there are more attacks and violence until the sheriff is finally forced to give them guns and teach them how to defend themselves.

This all sounds rather grim, but surprisingly can also be witty and is a good description of the life and times of that era. Constance is an unusual woman and all in all it is a very enjoyable novel.

The Life of Ruth Asawa by Marilyn Chase. Chronicle Books 2020. 182pp.

This book is a fascinating story about a girl born into a Japanese family living in California in l926. Her adolescence had been spent in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II.

 Ruth seemed artistic even as a child, and as she grew older, everything she touched seemed to turn into art. She clearly was a remarkable person with many friends and a family of her own with children. I would certainly enjoy reading more about Ruth Azawa.

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