The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress; Ariel Lawhon
Doubleday - 2014
I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but in this case I'm glad I did. The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress offers a fictional twist on the unsolved disappearance of NY Supreme Court Judge, Joseph Crater. The judge disappeared in 1930, and was legally declared dead in 1939 even though his body was never found.
Every year for nearly 40 years following Crater's disappearance, his wife Stella made annual visits to the mob owned, Abbey Club in NY's Greenwich Village to toast her husband. For Joe Crater, the Abbey Club was like a second home. Now dying of cancer Stella decides on a tell all she knows in meeting with detective Jude Simon who had been assigned to her husband's case.
The mistress, Sally Lou Ritz "Ritzi", a show girl, claims to have been out to dinner and more with Joe the night two men entered their hotel room, beat him up and dragged him off while she hid fearing discovery. Maria, the maid , also happens to be the wife of Jude the detective. She tells of having witnessed Ritzi in Joe and Stella's bed naked, and Stella herself doesn't exactly seem to have clean hands either.
The story was a fun romp into the world of 1930's New York. Showgirls, men with women on the side, the mob, prohibition, politics and more, all to the realistic happenings. The three woman in Judge Crater's life are all women who drive this story. Each woman is interesting and adds pieces to the puzzle with entertaining dialogue, and even though the real mystery remains unsolved, exploring the possibilities of what might have happened through the eyes of debut author, Ariel Lawhon was very enjoyable. A minor quibble with the book was the shifting time periods, which at times required close attention be paid. For me sometimes that is a little more difficult when listening to an audiobook while driving as was the case with this one. The audio book reader Ann Marie Lee was fantastic though. Try this one, it is quite good.
(library audio book)