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

January 27, 2016 Whitney Review 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel LawhonThe Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon
Published by Doubleday on January 14, 2014
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Netgalley

One summer night in 1930, Judge Joseph Crater steps into a New York City cab and is never heard from again. Behind this great man are three women, each with her own tale to tell: Stella, his fashionable wife, the picture of propriety; Maria, their steadfast maid, indebted to the judge; and Ritzi, his showgirl mistress, willing to seize any chance to break out of the chorus line.

As the twisted truth emerges, Ariel Lawhon’s wickedly entertaining debut mystery transports us into the smoky jazz clubs, the seedy backstage dressing rooms, and the shadowy streets beneath the Art Deco skyline.

First Impressions

Upon starting The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon I had no knowledge of the Joesph Crater disappearance. Therefore, I saw it as a work of fiction rather than analyzing it for historical accuracy. Almost immediately, I became engrossed in this mystery. I was invested in the women behind the man, the wife, maid and mistress of our story.

Impressions on the Characters

Stella, who as Joseph Crater’s wife and, in my opinion, the main character out of the three. She was just a spoiled child who realized her decisions had led to unfortunate consequences. For the majority of the book I felt like she pouted. Because of this, I found her annoying instead of having the pity she so desired.

Maria was extremely well-developed and could have been a novel all her own. She was as sly as a fox, underneath her demure, nieve facade lay a calculating maid, but without landing herself on the tv show “Devious Maids.” She was by far my favorite character as she was so multi-layered.

With Ritzi, I had a “take it or leave it” attitude. She was definitely an intricate part of the story but didn’t think she was a brightly drawn as the other two. I did prefer her story of intrigue and attempt to rise to fame over Stella but as a character, she just fell flat.

Final Impressions

I loved how the whole story tied together and thought it had an Ocean’s Eleven/Double Indemnity vibe to it. Overall, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is an accelerated puzzle. Ariel Lawhon was meticulously with detail and had this reader anxiously awaiting that last corner piece.


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