February 5, 2014

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



Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source: She Reads


Description:

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.



My Thoughts:

First, you need to play the mood music that I've embedded above. It's the perfect backdrop for this book.

Justice Joseph Crater disappeared in 1930. The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress is a reimagining of what might have happened to him and to the three women in his life. And ohhh, it's a good one.

The disappearance of Judge Crater was a HUGE deal in 1930. In our times, it would have caused a tabloid furor. As a fan of any sort of history I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't heard of this case. That, however, made this book a lot of fun for me. I had no preconceived notions or theories.

Was Crater a victim of his times? Now-a-days we'd call him the worst sort of philanderer and crook. But, in the 1930's corruption was rampant, having a mistress (or two) was de riguer, and being involved with mobsters was the way politicians got things done. Of course the guy was going to come to a bad end. It's almost a miracle that any of the politicians of that decade made it out alive.

I suggest you make yourself an Old Fashion, turn on some Benny Goodman or Billie Holiday, and sink yourself into this keen book. It will blow your wig. (Did I look up slang from 1930? You bet I did.)

36 comments:

  1. You make this book sound really great. My mom and I have both been eyeing it and I just may squeeze it in for Jazz-Age January before the last link-ups go up next week.

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    1. Hey! I should go link up to Jazz-Age January too :) It's not too late?

      I think you'd enjoy this one, Kelly. It's fun!

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  2. The narrator for this audiobook has to be a Phillip Marlowe-esque narrator with a deep bass voice - don't you think?

    I mentioned you needed a glass of gin when reading it. Funny how we both had alcohol in mind as a reading accompaniment.

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    1. Yes, absolutely!

      I also wanted to mention something about smoking a cigar but I didn't want to be totally irresponsible, ha!

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  3. I LOVE your music choice here (and the drink recipe hehe).

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    1. Thanks ;) I need to get the fixin's for these cocktails. I'm in the mood :D

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  4. I love the sound of the style of this book (and of your review of course!), but I'm not sure if the content would appeal to me.

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    1. It might not be your cup of tea eh? Understandable! But you should at least drink the drink and listen to the jazz ;)

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  5. Great review, I love the sound of this one although I've never heard of the case.

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    1. I hadn't either! After I read this (Ok, during) I was looking up the people in the book frantically. Google is my friend :D

      Thanks for visiting!

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  6. Great review! I enjoyed your inclusion of mood music. This isn't one of my favorite periods or topics to read about (political corruption, adultery, etc.) but you make it sound intriguing and enticing nonetheless.

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    1. I love reading about those topics and I don't know why?? Probably because it's quite exciting next to my life of stay at home mommery? ;) Thanks!

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  7. Haha, I have this coming up at the library. It sounds like it will be a great read.

    Did you ever see that book that has drink recipes to drink alongside your books?

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    1. I hope you dig it, Lindsey! I'll be waiting to hear what you think.

      I don't think I have seen that! Cool!

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  8. I love the cover art on this one! And wow. Can I just say that I've tried drinking an old fashion, several manhattans, and the like, and I really don't know how anyone does it. It's ALL alcohol. Anyway. This one seems to be a nice, juicy read. While I don't know if I'd wish this type of crowd on my own life, I definitely don't mind reading about it.

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    1. It's true, those sorts of drinks will knock you over...and quickly! I wouldn't want to hang out with these crooked folks either but I sure do love reading about them ;)

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  9. What a wonderful review, and now I feel like I must put on some old music and splurge on this book.

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    1. Thanks so much :D I hope you do both of those things!

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  10. I have a copy of this and it sounds like I need to get to it (there was a little rave for it on the Books on the Nightstand podcast, too!)

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    1. Groovy! Yep, you totally should :D

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  11. Oooooh, I'm really REALLY picky about my historical fiction, but this one sounds awesome. Never heard about this judge or his disappearance before, but what a great reinterpretation!

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    1. You might dig this one, Kelly :) I think it's been quite the hit so far!

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  12. I have this book waiting in my TBR list...I think your review helped it to jump up a bit towards the top!

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    1. Fantastic :D I hope you like it, Melinda!

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  13. This sounds amazing! Love the mood music, love the cocktail recipe, love it all!

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    1. Thanks, Katie :D I'm kinda in love with the music myself!

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  14. This books sounds like me. Loved your review - and thanks for the cocktail recipe darlin' :)

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    1. I hope you get to it, Melinda. I think you'll like it :D You're ever so welcome!

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  15. I listened to Ann Kingman talk this book up on last week's Books on the Nightstand podcast and now you loved it as well! What a great post and I can't wait to dive into this little ditty.

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    1. Cool :) I need to start listening to that podcast. I forget that such things even exist, lol.

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  16. Your review definitely made me blow my wig ;) Definitely something I'd check out and read.

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    1. LOL, great saying isn't it? ;) I hope you do!

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  17. I've never heard of this case but I think I'm definitely going to be reading this book about it!

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    1. I hope you do, Lisa. It's a good one!

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  18. Yay, I love slang. And this book sounds awesome. It's been sitting on my TBR for a while now, but I still have so much too read

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  19. Outstanding review! I love your use of additional media! No way could I handle a manhattan- can I just have a lemondrop martini?

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