Books Magazine

Book Review: The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress

By Anovelsource @thenovellife

Ariel Lawhon
Random House LLC
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Every now and then a book comes along that just blows me away. I remember finishing this one and researching the facts of Justice Joseph Crater’s disappearance in 1930. Reading the novel only worked at piquing my interest ~ I was like a mad dog on the trail of a tasty bone. And it took me forever to write a review because I got caught up in googling the case once again!

If you’re not familiar with the case, Judge Joseph Crater disappeared in New York City after withdrawing over $5000 {a much larger sum in 1930 than in 2014}. The Wife, The Maid & The Mistress takes that case and looks at it from the viewpoint of the three women who knew him best ~ Stella, the Wife; Maria, the Maid and Ritzi, the Mistress and showgirl. The story begins 39 years after the Judge’s disappearance. Stella is sitting in the same smoky underground bar that her husband used to haunt. She’s there with two whiskeys on the table ~ one for her and one for her missing husband – a tradition she started the year after his disappearance.

We learn of the Judge’s not so great business dealings and his ties to notorious gangster Owney “The Killer” Madden. We learn how each of the three women in his life are indebted to Justice Crater and we learn how the list is quite long of individuals who would like to see the Judge gone for good.

Justice Joseph Crater

Photo Credit: New York Times

A whodunit based on an actual case and one that will keep you breathless til the very last page. The writing is engaging, the characters are very humanly flawed, and the pacing is spot on. I haven’t read many historical fiction accounts based on the ’20s but this one has me ready to read more. The whiskey flows, the smokey bars disguise, the clothes, the mannerisms, even the gangsters – The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress left me eager to read anything by Ariel Lawhon.  Her ability to make characters and situations seem so real is astounding. I was in that smokey bar with Ritzi and Judge Crater sitting across from Owen Madden and I was at that dinner party at the Crater’s home that had Maria working late and Stella being hostess and I was in that dressing room with all the showgirls when the Judge came walking in the room.  A gem of a novel and one that should not be missed. Highly, highly recommended.

About the Author  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).

To connect with Ariel Lawhon visit Website | Facebook | Twitter

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