Friday, June 20, 2014
The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon
The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress
by Ariel Lawhon
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 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!