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The War Against Miss Winter (Rosie Winter Mysteries) Paperback – June 12, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. (June)
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“Perfectly captures the feel, sights and sounds of New York in the 1940s.” (Rhys Bowen)

“[a] pitch-perfect rendering of the early ‘40s, from rationing to java stops at the automat.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“...Haine’s assured debut brings the WWII era to vivid life...” (Publishers Weekly)

“...a fun romp...” (Publishers Weekly)

“highly satisfying and clever...a well-constructed theatrical treasure hunt.” (Pittsburgh Magazine)

“Give Kathryn Haines...a standing ovation!” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
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Product Details

  • Series: Rosie Winter Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061139785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061139789
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathryn Miller Haines is an actor, mystery writer, and award-winning playwright. In addition to writing the Rosie Winter series for HarperCollins, she's also writes a mystery series for young adults also set during World War II for Roaring Brook Press. The first book in the series, The Girl is Murder, is about 15 year old Iris Anderson whose life is turned up side down when her mother kills herself and her father returns injured from Pearl Harbor. She also blogs about World War II and pop culture at www.thegirlis.blogspot.com

Here's a brief Q&A with Kathryn about why she decided to write a young adult novel:

This is your first mystery for young adults, after penning several of popular mysteries for adults in your Rosie Winter series. What made you decide to write for this new audience?

I love reading YA books and, as when I first tried my hand at mysteries, I wanted to see if I could write one for myself. I also felt like there was a whole world of World War II that hadn't been explored very much - what was the war like from the perspective of teenagers? In fact there's a great non-fiction book called Teenage that talks about adolescence through history that really got me buzzing about what life was like then.

What were some of the mysteries you enjoyed reading when you were young? I'm assuming Nancy Drew, due to the mention in the book, but I'd love to hear a few of your early faves.

Absolutely loved Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Truth told, though, I didn't read a lot of mysteries as a young 'un. I was a big Judy Blume fan (particularly Blubber, a book that has stayed with me all these years). Bridge to Terabithia will still make me cry. And I never met a Lois Duncan book I didn't tear through (though I guess those kind of are mysteries/thrillers).
What kind of research did you do to create an authentic early 1940s-New York City setting? Was there any difference in your research process for a young readers title compared to your work for adult titles?

I read a lot of great non-fiction books about the war, went through contemporary to the war issues of newspapers, magazines, comic books; listened to music and radio shows; looked at fashion; watched movies - pretty much surrounded myself with the kind of pop culture that I would've probably been into had I lived during that time.

With the adult mysteries, I think readers are looking for the nitty gritty details about the period whereas I don't think YA readers have the patience for a four page info dump on the history of air conditioning. It was freeing in some ways because I didn't have to be as specific and heavy handed with creating my world. I felt like I could create a flavor of the period without having to drown each scene in period detail. It became a lot more about experiencing the world through the character for me.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is incredibly satisfying to discover new authors with a flair for fiction that typically denotes decades of publishing under the belt. In one such exceptional debut novel, The War Against Miss Winter, actor and playwright Kathryn Miller Haines introduces readers to Rosie Winter, aspiring actress, part-time file clerk, and amateur sleuth. Rosie takes on a job keeping books for a private detective to make ends meet in between acting jobs. When she has the unpleasant experience of finding her boss Jim's dead body in the office after a holiday break, she finds herself being forced from all directions into resuming Jim's work and recovering a missing play manuscript that may very well be the cause of his death. Rosie is not alone in her quest and the person who shares a common goal is willing to commit murder under the watch of a corrupt legal system to achieve it.

Readers will immediately find Rosie endearing. She is funny, smart, sarcastic and sassy: a feminist before her time. She stands tough against the many shady characters she encounters, ignoring obvious threats to her survival. Who can't respect a woman who can sit down and offer a doughnut to a mob henchman who's been tailing her? She makes it difficult to say goodbye to The War Against Miss Winter when the adventure is over. We can rest assured, she'll be back with another mystery in 2008, The Winter of Her Discontent. Hopefully there are many more adventures in store.

On a more somber note, with The War Against Miss Winter being set in 1943 in the midst of World War II, Haines captures the turmoil brewing in a society paranoid that the enemy lurks around every corner.
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Format: Paperback
An undeniable triumph for both author and lead character on debut, "The War Against Miss Winter" is a witty, period-perfect portrayal of the exploits of an endearing young woman who has one eye set on stardom, and the other on the look-out for anything of a suspicious nature. Set in New York in the 1940s, our heroine, Rosie Winter, is a talented, yet unemployed aspiring actress, who has a fall-back day job at a small detective agency. Her boss, Jim McCain does the normal "cheating spouses" cases through the front door, but has another type of clientele that make use of the fire escape and the back window to his office.

Just after the Christmas holidays, Rosie visits the office and finds her boss swinging, and not in a good way. Although ruled a suicide by a cynical police investigator, Rosie isn't convinced, and soon finds herself swept up in her most dangerous role ever, involving mobsters, murderers, hired muscle, a missing play and a lot of people desperately seeking salvation.

Strong female characters dominate every chapter, and this novel is so rich in description that you'll turn the last page with the feeling that you were actually there. A very promising debut by Kathryn Miller Haines, and hopefully just book one in the Rosie Winter detective series.

Rated: 4.5 stars

Amanda Richards, October 5, 2007
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Format: Paperback
The War Against Miss Winter is a fun historical mystery. It has a great plot with a surprise ending and Mrs. Haines
has great characters. Rosie the hero is a wonderful character who has a biting sense of humor! You can't help but love this book and hope Mrs. Haines writes many more mysteries!

Steve Rapaport
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Format: Paperback
"The War Against Miss Winter" is set in New York City during WWII. The protagonist is Rosalind Winter, a struggling stage actress living in a rooming house exclusively for women in theatre. Since parts aren't coming along too briskly, she's taken a job as an assistant to a private detective. As the book begins, Rosie has discovered her boss murdered in his office. Almost at once the confusion begins. What was Jim working on and why are so many people looking for it but unwilling to say what it is they seek?

It's a good mystery and the setting is well drawn. The author does nearly sink the book by making Rosie talk like a a street tough, a male one at that. Rosie talking like a pulp fiction tough guy really strikes an off key note. (I've read the second in the series and it tones down considerably, so if you're evaluating whether you want to continue with the series, there is positive news.)

I haven't found Rosie to be my favorite mystery heroine, but she's likeable enough and the wartime city setting is different and interesting. The mysteries in the series are anchored in the times, not just a generic puzzle pinned onto the gimmick setting du jour, which is very refreshing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a delight from beginning to end. Wisecracking Rosie is dead-on for a New York gal of that time. It is different, fun and most enjoyable.

As I may be one of the few still alive who was a teenager in New York at that time, I naturally look for anachronisms, which are usually plentiful in "historical" novels. I am absolutely astonished that Ms Haines has got that period, the way people talk, the expressions used, and the physical descriptions absolutely correct.

There were one or two that slipped in (I don't think "hinky" was used then, but it may have been), but for somebody who obviously was not living during that time frame, it is astonishing how she has it all down pat. I hoped her brief bio might explain how she did this, but no such luck. I suppose she may have talked to her grandparents or others who lived then, but it is a tour de force in that respect.
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