Friday, June 20, 2014

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon


The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress
by Ariel Lawhon
Doubleday, 2014
320 pages
source: borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads):
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?

My thoughts:

My sister recently asked for a vacation book recommendation... something absorbing and face-paced that would keep her turning the pages, but no fluff. She's also a nonfiction fan and, since it's based on a true story, I figured The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress might be the perfect choice. It was. She loved it.

I knew she would. I'd read it in Florida just a month earlier and had been telling everyone else to read it, too - family, friends, my book club, even the bunco group I occasionally attend.

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wonderful piece of storytelling based on the disappearance of  New York City Judge Joseph Crater in 1930. As you might imagine, there is no shortage of gangsters, showgirls, or political corruption in this tale. The only thing that slowed my reading was getting lost on google. I couldn't resist looking up the people and places mentioned!

I also appreciated the very detailed author's note at the end. Lawhon clearly separates fact from fiction. Some characters are real, others are imagined, and a few are amalgamations of various key players. The actual case remains unsolved.

Highly recommended. Add it to your summer reading list now!

My rating:

24 comments:

  1. I absolutely loved this book and it's also on my Summer Reading List (and will be on my Best Books of the Year list this Dec). The fact that the crime is real and unsolved made what was a beautifully written story that much more fascinating, and, I too, appreciated the detailed author's note at the end. Glad you and your sister enjoyed it!

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    1. Sarah - My mother just read it and she love it, too. Such a great book!

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  2. I'd probably like this one too! It sounds terrific!

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  3. I sometimes also get very distracted on google while checking out things in a book!

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    1. Jill - This book is a trap for compulsive go oglers ;-)

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  4. I agree! I listened to this on audio.

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    1. Nise' - I'll bet the audio was great!

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  5. I requested this one from Amazon Vine. I'm glad to hear you and your sister loved it!

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    1. Diane - We can add my mother to the list now, too!

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  6. Another one that catches my eye! SOOOOO many books :)

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    1. Sheila - I think you'd love this one!

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  7. I'm dying to read this one but library has yet to get it. I think this might be worth buying! Thanks for the review!

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    1. Katherine - I hope your library decides to get a copy... it's SO good!

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    1. Audrey - I think this one will appeal to your mystery-loving tendencies ;-)

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  9. I loved this one! The audio was great too

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    1. Beth F - Maybe I'll reread on audio :)

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  10. I'm glad you and your sister enjoyed this. With Historical Fiction, I sometimes can't resist Google before completing the book!

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    1. Pat - I don't think I've ever spent so much time googling while reading ;-)

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  11. It sounds like a very good read! Or maybe a good "listen".... I'm thinking I might enjoy that one as an audiobook.

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    1. Leila - Judging from the above comments, audio would be a great way to go. These bloggers never steer me wrong ;-)

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  12. This one sounds right up my alley - and might just be a good choice for my book club, too!

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    1. Lisa - I'm almost certain you would love this!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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