The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon
Synopsis 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?
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.
My Thoughts: This book was chosen by my book club for our September pick. I never would have read it otherwise, but I am so glad I did. This book has it all. From showgirls and mobsters to politicians and maids who know too much, this book was one that I couldn’t put down – literally. I listened to it on audio – my first audio book, and I loved it! I will definitely be doing this more often. It makes car rides more enjoyable and helps me “read” multiple books a little quicker. Enough on that. We also had the opportunity to chat with the author, Ariel Lawhorn on Twitter and it was amazing! I learned so much more about the book. Search our hashtag #Literaryjunkies to read the chat! This novel is based on real life events. Books based on real life stories are always so much more interesting to me! You definitely must read this one. I gave it 4 stars.