It's 1943, and the war escalating in Europe and the Pacific seems far away. But for aspiring actress Rosie Winter, the war feels as if it were right in New York City—what with food rationing and frequent blackouts . . . and a boyfriend she hasn't heard word one from since he enlisted in the navy. Now her rent is coming due and she hasn't been cast in anything for six months. The factories are desperate for women workers, but Rosie the Thespian isn't about to become Rosie the Riveter, so she grabs a part-time job at a seamy, lowbrow detective agency instead.
However, there's more to the Big City gumshoe game than chasing lowlife cheating spouses. When her boss turns up dead, Rosie finds herself caught up in a ticklish high society mystery, mingling with mobsters and searching for a notorious missing script. Maybe she has no crime-fighting experience—but Rosie certainly knows how to act the role. No matter how the war against Miss Winter turns out, it's not going to end with her surrender!
Evocative, entertaining, and wonderfully original, Kathryn Miller Haines's War Against Miss Winter introduces not only an unforgettable new sleuth but also an exciting new voice in the mystery genre, with a fast-paced tale of murder and deception that brings the World War II era vividly to life.
Set in New York City, Haines's assured debut brings the WWII era to vivid life, from a topical jump-rope song ("Whistle while you work. Hitler is a jerk...") to Automats and jive joints. On New Year's Eve 1942, actress Rosie Winter, whose day job is with a Manhattan detective agency, finds the body of her boss, Sam McCain, hanging in his office closet, his hands and neck tied with phone cord. The investigating cop calls Sam's death a well-deserved suicide, but there's a missing play that a reclusive playwright and a rich widow want found. Rosie, a fast-thinking Hepburn type, takes on the case, aided by her best pal, Jayne ("a petite blonde with... the voice of a two-year-old" dubbed "America's squeakheart"). This is a fun romp, though the author, herself a playwright and actor, provides some dark commentary on avant-garde theater and war as well as an unexpected and wicked twist in the novel's final act.