Isabella Goodwin, a corrupt police department, and a bank heist.

Winner of the Amazon gift card is Ginny! Congrats! And thanks everyone.

Summer is busy. I scrounge up breakfast, dash off to the lake to swim, slather some sun block on my kids, read for a bit, dash home for lunch, then back out to visit friends. Reading short stories are perfect. (Okay, I’ve read at least 6 novels so far this summer too.) (Somewhere in there I remember to do laundry.)

I purchased my second Kindle Single a couple weeks ago. I really enjoyed them.

The first one I purchased was a short story: Midnight’s Tale by George Berger. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The author, ready to quit writing, submitted this short story and then Amazon contacted him. Since then, the story has taken off. I purchased it because I was so darn curious. I mean, seriously. A goat? I had to find out what the fuss was about.

Purchase from Amazon

I read the sample and enjoyed the irony, humor, and the writing, so I purchased it. But it wasn’t really about a goat. The goat struggled with aspects of life that many people could relate to: the desire to be loved, fear of the future. I highly recommend it. Oh and he faced a blood sacrifice too.

The second Kindle Single I bought was The Fearless Mrs. Goodwin. This short piece was narrative nonfiction. I only had to read the description of a bank heist in 1912 and the woman who cracked the case and I was all over it.

Purchase from Amazon

Here’s the description from Amazon:

Manhattan, 1912. A time of greed, corruption, scandal and distrust, when the police commissioner had this advice for the citizenry: “Don’t take a criminal investigation into your own hands. Don’t poke about a dead body. Don’t investigate a robbery all on your own.”

Then the most outrageous and brutal bank heist of the young century occurred, and the city combusted in fear and anger. Wall Street brokers were carrying guns. The police looked more ineffectual by the day. Not a single man could break the case.

But perhaps a woman could. Mrs. Isabella Goodwin was a smart and resourceful police matron who had gone about as far as a woman in police work could go. The bank robbery presented a unique career opportunity.

As Elizabeth Mitchell writes in “The Fearless Mrs. Goodwin”, a true story so astounding it reads like fiction, only a woman could penetrate New York’s underworld without attracting suspicion. When Goodwin got the call from headquarters, she was ready. With glimmering eyes, the widow with four children to support disappeared into Manhattan’s underbelly. Would she return with her man? Would she make it back at all?

I loved it. Isabella Goodwin spent 7 years as a “glorified housekeeper” for the corrupt NY City police department. She worked 7 days a week in twelve hour shifts for minimal pay and horrendous conditions. Then she got called in for some undercover work. Her first big break. This could change her life.

This short piece was more than the how or the why of a bank heist. It was the story of a courageous woman who fought against the tide of her times to forge her way in life. She put herself in life threatening positions dealing with crime rings and thugs. If her cover had been blown it would’ve meant her life.

This piece also gave me a glimpse into an earlier time, a snapshot of the late 1800s and the early 1900s, which was really cool. Did this real life story spark story ideas for me? You bet your bottom dollar. (Sorry my daughter is involved in musical theater this summer. My family basically now sings to each other at the dinner table.)

What about you? Read any good short stories? Checked out the Kindle Singles? Many of them are extremely appealing. I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading more in the future. 

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18 Responses to Isabella Goodwin, a corrupt police department, and a bank heist.

  1. Louise July 9, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Oh wow, The Fearless Mrs Goodwin sounds amazing! Right up my alley for the time period, too. Thanks for the rec!

    Singing to each other around the dinner table sounds like fun, too. I adapt Gilbert & Sullivan at bedtime to help encourage my children to brush their teeth. They aren’t overwhelmingly impressed.

    • Laura July 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      It’s been fun: hearing my daughter sing random musical songs when she’s home. I think kids just love to sing because they’re not old enough to care how good they are or not!

  2. anne gallagher July 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Midnight’s Tale is on my TBR list. The story sounds spectacular. I’ve heard many good things about it. And Mrs. Goodwin is indeed a character. Sounds like you’re enjoying your summer.

    • Laura July 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

      I wasn’t going to buy Midnight’s Tale. I just downloaded the sample because I was really curious. But I loved the writing and the humor and I knew it was only 12K words.

  3. Alex J. Cavanaugh July 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Haven’t checked out the singles as my iPad is already overflowing with books.

    • Laura July 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

      I know what you mean. Books overflowing. I love it!

  4. Stina Lindenblatt July 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    You’ve read six novels already. I’m jealous. I think I’ve read four (or maybe more). But one was a reread because the sequel had just come out.

  5. Lydia K July 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    I didn’t know about Kindle Singles! Thanks for enlightening me. 🙂

    • Laura July 10, 2012 at 12:00 am #

      I just recently discovered them too. 🙂

  6. Lisa Green July 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I’d never heard of buying single shorts like that either! Very interesting and what neat ones you found.

  7. Maria Toth July 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    Thanks for sharing! Just bought “The Fearless Mrs. Goodwin” for my Kindle. Sounds like a good read! 🙂

  8. Sherrie Petersen July 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    I watched a heist movie last night, The Italian Job, and thought of you 🙂

    I don’t usually buy the singles because I get impatient with short stories. Just as I’ve gotten into the characters and plot, the story’s over! But maybe now that I’m older (and theoretically wiser and more patient!) I could try again.

  9. Laura July 10, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    I haven’t normally read short stories either. But a lot of the singles are more like a novella or at least 15k words and with all the books I want to read it’s nice for a couple of them to be less than 20K. 🙂

  10. Stacy July 10, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    I’ve got SO many books to read, but this one sounds amazing. Thanks for the rec, Laura!

  11. Elana Johnson July 10, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    I have heard of the Kindle Singles, but haven’t actually explored beyond that. I’ll have to get on that. 🙂

  12. Creepy Query Girl July 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    wow, that 1912 bank heist story sounds amazing! and yes, it totally does sound like it could be fiction. Hope you’re having a great summer!

  13. Anna Staniszewski July 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    These sound really interesting. I’ve had no attention span recently since I’m drafting a new project (not sure why I can’t read and write at the same time) so maybe something shorter will be better for me. 🙂

  14. Donna K. Weaver July 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Those are cool sounding stories. And as singles, I’m guessing they’re quick reads, right?

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