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The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress (2014)

by Ariel Lawhon

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While the judges disappearance is real, it is utterly fascinating that so little has been discovered regarding his death. This is a fresh and imaginative prospective on what occurred and I thought it added a great twist to the possibilities behind the event. ( )
  TiffanyHow | Oct 3, 2017 |
This books revolves around secrets kept and shared by three very different women and what they are willing to do to protect themselves in a period in history when women had no protection.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive!"

( )
  kimkimkim | Aug 21, 2017 |
This was a wonderful book that kept me interested and engaged. Lawhon has a gift for weaving a story of intricate details of fact, filling in the blanks seemlessly to create a high paced story. The story of three women with very differently relationships to a single man is told in a way that you understand each, their motivations, and no one is left either a villain or victim. Most importantly to this reader was their strength in a era when women largely had no agency. You are left guessing until the very end, and then question what you thought you understood. Upon reflection, does the minutia really matter or is it far more about the people, the relationships, then the mechanics? I know am excited to read anything else Ariel Lawhan writes! ( )
  CMDH5 | May 3, 2017 |
In 1930, Judge Joseph Crater left his summer home in Maine for a meeting in New York City, and was never seen again. His disappearance -- presumed to be murder -- remains a mystery. This book, while a work of fiction, offers a plausible scenario involving several real-life figures known to the judge. Other characters are amalgams of various people, or completely made up.

Joe’s relationship with his wife, Stella, was rocky. He was known to sleep around with showgirls, represented by Ritzi in the novel. The eponymous maid, Maria, kept house in the Craters’ Manhattan apartment. The narrative shifts time frequently, describing events before and after Joe’s disappearance and one night nearly 40 years later, and dropping clues along the way.

While some of the characters seemed like over-the-top caricatures, this novel was a pretty good imagining of events with enough suspense to hold my interest. ( )
  lauralkeet | Apr 6, 2017 |
Gave up after 10 chapters. Couldn't get into it.
  bogopea | Oct 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Lawhon's novel reimagines the 1930 disappearance of justice Joseph Crater, an unsolved crime that fixates armchair detectives to this day. Set among the speakeasies and society soirees of Jazz Age Manhattan, the story also winds its way through the cramped tenements of the Lower East Side and goes behind the scenes of Broadway spectaculars. One August night, Joseph Crater leaves Club Abbey, a speakeasy owned by notorious gangster Owney Madden, and is never seen again. There are rumors of political corruption and shady connections with the criminal underworld, but the story centers on three women in his life—his wife, Stella; his mistress, showgirl Ritzi; and his maid, Maria. The three of them, all severely affected by his disappearance, must deal with the unexpected consequences, while trying to decide if there is a chance that he might still be alive. Stella hides in her Maine vacation home to avoid being harassed by police detectives and journalists. Ritzi shoulders a grueling life that is nothing like the glamorous starlet's existence that she dreamed of. Maria, whose husband is a detective assigned to the Crater case, works on starting a family while managing two jobs. These women do everything they can to protect themselves and their families from the malevolent men who let nothing stand in the way of them and their money.
added by kthomp25 | editPublisher's Weekly
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038553762X, Hardcover)

A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930—Justice Joseph Crater's infamous disappearance—as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best.

They say behind every great man, there's a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge's wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge's bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband's recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city's most notorious gangster, Owney "The Killer" Madden.

On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge's involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he?

After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge's favorite watering hole back in the day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks—one for her and one in honor of her missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to tell a tale—of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than she has initially let on.

With a layered intensity and prose as effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:02 -0400)

Stella Crater, the judge's wife, is the picture of propriety. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge's bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband's recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge's involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he? After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows....… (more)

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