The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

Ariel Lawhon

Published by Thorndike Press
ISBN 10: 1410469077 / ISBN 13: 9781410469076
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Hardcover. 607 pages. Dimensions: 8.5in. x 5.5in. x 1.0in.A LibraryReads Selection Judge Craters wife, Stella, is the picture of propriety. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl, thinks the judges bed is the first step out of the chorus line. And thanks to the judge, dutiful maid Maria Simons husband is now a detective in the NYPD. Crater himself is indebted to both Tammany Hall and a notorious gangster. As rumors circulate about widespread political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears forever. Or does he This Peer Pick title was selected by Abbey Stroop, the Readers Advisory Library and Fiction, Express and Large Print buyer at Herrick District Library in Holland, Michigan. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: A LibraryReads Selection Judge Crater?s wife, Stella, is the picture of propriety. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl, thinks the judge?s bed is the first step out of the chorus line. And thanks to the judge, dutiful maid Maria Simon?s husband is now a detective in the NYPD. Crater himself is indebted to both Tammany Hall and a notorious gangster. As rumors circulate about widespread political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears forever. Or does he? This Peer Pick title was selected by Abbey Stroop, the Reader?s Advisory Library and Fiction, Express and Large Print buyer at Herrick District Library in Holland, Michigan.

Review: Joshilyn Jackson Ariel Lawhon

Joshilyn Jackson interviews Ariel Lawhon, author of The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress: A Novel

Joshilyn: Your novel revisits an unsolved mystery of Old New York. How did you first find it? What about it made you want to use the truth as a vehicle to drive your own story?

Ariel: I?d never heard of Joseph Crater until I read an article about him in The New York Post nine years ago. I didn?t know that his disappearance was the biggest missing person?s case of the twentieth century or that he was a household name for almost fifty years. It was fascinating. But in all of that, what intrigued me most was his wife Stella, and her strange yearly ritual. Starting on the first anniversary of her husband?s disappearance, she would go to a bar in Greenwich Village and order two drinks. She?d raise one in salute, ?Good luck, Joe, wherever you are!? Then she?d drink it and walk out of the bar, leaving the other untouched on the table. She did this every year for thirty-nine years. After reading that article Stella Crater took up permanent residence in my mind. I?d close my eyes and she?d be there, in that corner booth, a glass of whiskey in her hand, practically daring me to tell her story. So I did.

Joshilyn: You have blended actual historical events so seamlessly into your fiction that I can?t tell where truth ends and your imagination takes over. How did you create this world?

Ariel: The real Crater mystery is filled with all these fascinating but seemingly disconnected details: mysterious cash-filled envelopes, theater tickets, grand jury investigations, random injuries, missing wills, bribery allegations. I wanted to take all the peripheral details that are often nothing more than footnotes in the historical record and make them integral to the story. But this could only be done when put in contrast with the real people involved: crooked politicians, seedy gangsters, an uncooperative wife, ambitious dancing girls, theater moguls, police officers, nosey reporters. It was all there for the taking but there were gaps. Big questions no one could answer with any certainty, not the least of which is what actually happened to Judge Crater. So I took the details I could verify (hello research you are my drug) and then arranged the blank spaces to fit my own theories. In the end, it became a portrait of what could have happened.

Joshilyn: You have three narrators - which of them is least like you? And did that distance make it easier or harder to write her?

Ariel: Don?t be like me. Don?t write three different stories centered on the same missing man and then try to weave them together into a cohesive whole. You will feel like you?re sewing up a bag of cats. And you will, inevitably, find that one character is easier to write than the others (Ritzi). You will like her best even though you aren?t supposed to play favorites. This will do strange things to your moral compass, because you like the mistress best. One of the characters will be cold and elusive and you will have nothing in common with her (Stella). She will scare you a little bit and make you doubt your own ability at every turn. Her name will become an expletive. And then there will be one that surprises you (Maria). She will be both devout and sensual. You will make her do things that cause you unreasonable guilt given her imaginary status. You will lose sleep. In the end she will break your heart.

Joshilyn: Where do you do your writing?

Ariel: Anywhere. Everywhere. The first flat surface I can find that isn?t littered with Legos or used Band Aids. The better question would probably be when do you write (answer: whenever white space shows up on the calendar). Apparently there is this thing called biology. And it WORKS. So thanks to biology I have four children. All of them boys. All of them highly intelligent and off-the-charts active. We call them The Wild Rumpus. And we will not buy nice things until they grow up and leave home. So the when and where of writing is a daily tightrope walk for me. It?s probably not the best way to write books but it?s the only way I know how and it seems to be working well so far.

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Title: The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress
Publisher: Thorndike Press

Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New

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Book Description Thorndike Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. large type edition. 216 x 140 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930--Justice Joseph Crater s infamous disappearance--as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best. 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. With a layered intensity and prose as effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781410469076

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Book Description Thorndike Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. large type edition. 216 x 140 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930--Justice Joseph Crater s infamous disappearance--as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best. 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. With a layered intensity and prose as effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781410469076

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