by Ariel Lawhon
Release date: January 2014
Genre: 1920s, Mystery
Hardback: 320 pages
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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.
In-a-word(s): vacant elegance
This tale definitely transported me into its world with its attention to details of the time period.
Loved how this story is told via three story lines with the perspectives of women from different classes during the late 1920s in which you a complete picture of the mystery involved. A page turner - indeed!
* review copy courtesy of publisher via Shelf Awareness