Description (from the author’s website):
A wickedly entertaining novel that reconstructs one of America’s most famous unsolved mysteries–the disappearance of Justice Joseph Crater in 1930–as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best: his wife, his maid, and his mistress. Representing three very different walks of life, Stella, Ritzi and Maria reveal a New York City brimming with seediness and contradictions, a place where women are second-class citizens and greed and desire permeate the lives of those who live on both sides of the law.
On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulated about the judge’s involvement in wide-scale political corruption, Judge Crater stepped into a cab and vanished without a trace. Or did he?
After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a corner booth 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 tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs, THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS is a gripping tale that will transport readers to a bygone era. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater vanished lingers seductively until the very last pages.
My Review – (3 Stars: Liked it!)
The Wife, The Maid, And The Mistress takes place mostly in New York City and has an array of characters who we get to know through flashbacks to the early 1930s when newly appointed State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Crater disappears.
The true missing person’s case for Judge Crater was never solved, but author, Ariel Lawhon, builds an interesting supposition as to what might have happened. She paints a picture of police corruption, pay-offs and scandals. Lawhon depicts that during that time period, women, in general, were treated as second-class citizens or worse. Three women, from different walks of life, the wife (Stella), the maid (Maria) and the mistress (Ritzi) have some things in common. They were all involved with Judge Crater, were mistreated by him and trapped in their positions by circumstances of the times.
I enjoyed the Author’s Notes at the end of this book giving insight into how this story was developed.
About Ariel Lawhon (The Cliff Notes Version from the author’s website):
Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.
Note: The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress: A Novel by Ariel Lawhon is the February Book Club Selection for She Reads.
You can go to the She Reads’ announcement page to find links to additional reviews on this book and enter their contest to receive one of five free copies of this book and a special bonus, commemorative of the book, a set of shot glasses!
I would like to thank the She Reads Organization and the publisher, Doubleday, A Division of Random House, Inc., for providing me with this book, free of charge, for review.
Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received this book free from the publisher, Doubleday, A Division of Random House, Inc., as a member of the She Reads’ Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.