The Washington Times published my review of Edward Conlon’s The Policewomen’s Bureau: A Novel.
Having interviewed a good number of police officers over the years and having accompanied patrol officers and detectives out on the streets, I’ve heard a good number of absorbing, amusing and atrocious cop stories.
I once asked a former Los Angeles Police Department detective sergeant and best-selling author, Joseph Wambaugh, whom many have called “The Father of the Modern Police Novel,” why cops are such good storytellers.
“First of all, they get good material in their work. They’re out there seeing people, doing things,” Mr. Wambaugh, the author of “The Onion Field” and “The Choir Boys,” said. “They are out there having fun when they do good police work and they are gathering material whether they know it or not. And once in a while someone like me will pop up and say, hey, tell me a few stories. And often they are eager to do it.”
Edward Conlon’s novel, “The Policewomen’s Bureau: A Novel,” is the result of one cop from an earlier era telling cop stories to a modern cop. Edward Conlon was a detective with the New York City Police Department, and he is the author of a memoir, “Blue Blood,” and a previous novel called “Red On Red.”
“The Policewomen’s Bureau” is a work of fiction based on the life of my late friend, Marie Cirile-Spagnuolo, and was written with her permission and cooperation,” Mr. Conlon writes in his author’s note. “I was drawn to her story through her memoir, ‘Detective Marie Cirile,’ and decided to adapt it as a novel over the course of long talks. Both of us were detectives in the NYPD, though in different eras. Marie was appointed in 1957, and she was at my retirement party in 2011, three months before she died.”
How much of the novel is true?
“Most of it, and the worst of it,” Mr. Conlon writes.
“Marie was an outsider and a trailblazer, an Italian in an Irish police department, and a woman in a man’s world. The indignities she suffered, on the job and off, were experiences I could only imagine. And so, I decided to relate them with as little imagination as possible, relying on her versions of events and her emotional reactions to them.”
You can read the rest of the review via the below link: