The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress (Lawhon) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Good crime stories don't stay buried, and Ariel Lawhon's new novel, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress digs up the case of the so-called Missingest Man in New York and feasts on its bones…. This case was an a la carte menu of the era's social hot buttons: chorus girls, speakeasies, bootleggers, Tammany Hall corruption, nattily clad gangsters and irritating rich people.… Lawhon has a gift for lean banter and descriptive shorthand.... But don't let Lawhon's straightforward style and narrative restraint fool you. This book is more meticulously choreographed than a chorus line. It all pays off. Clues accumulate. Each scene proves important. Everyone lies. Once the rabbit is out of the hat everything takes on a different texture, reorganizes and makes sense. A second reading, like a second cocktail, is almost better than the first.
Chelsea Cain - New York Times Book Review


A gripping, fast-paced noir novel.... captures a New York City period full of high-kicking showgirls, mob-linked speakeasies and Tammany Hall political scandal.... Lawhon brings fresh intrigue to this tale, making the final outcome a guessing game for the reader as events unfold... Her version is built colorfully around many of the actual places and people who were key figures in the case... Stella, Maria and Ritzi are central to Lawhon's tale and give it a depth of emotion that is often missing from crime thrillers... the story moves forward with momentum, thanks to well-crafted scenes and fluid dialogue. Also, despite the many decades since Judge Crater went missing, the mystery of his disappearance is still a powerful magnet for its fictional retelling.
Associated Press


A romp through New York in the late 20's…Populated by gangsters and crooked politicians, society ladies and dancers, this story is nothing like your day-to-day life and yet... you will find the three women mentioned in the title (a wife, a maid and a mistress) strangely recognizable…. Ariel Lawhon has cleverly re-imagined what might have happened if three women in his life really did know.
Charlotte Observer


As rumors swirl about political corruption, an NYC judge disappears in 1930 without a trace. Caught in the scandal are his wife and showgirl mistress – plus his dutiful maid, whose detective husband is investigating the case. Inspired by a real-life unsolved mystery, this mesmerizing novel features characters that make a lasting impression."
People Magazine


Set among seedy speakeasies and backstage dressing rooms during Prohibition, the twists and turns in the tale of lust, greed, and deceit keep you guessing until the final pages....The Nancy Drew in you can’t wait to solve the artfully hidden clues in this historical mystery.
Daily Candy


A romp through 1930s New York populated by gangsters and crooked politicians, society ladies and dancers.
Deep South Magazine


Turns a historical mystery into nail-biting entertainment.
Nashville Scene


An intriguing mystery… Lawhon’s storytelling skills bring the characters to life and will have readers sympathizing with them even when they cheat and steal. She weaves reality and fantasy together so well — if you’re looking for a page-turner filled with glitz and glamour as well as murder, greed and deceit, this one’s for you.”
Romantic Times


In extended flashbacks, [Lawhon] paints a sordid portrait of mobsters and mayhem, corruption and carnage, greed and graft as she slyly builds the suspense to a stunning revelation. A story of a bygone New York, [the book] is also a tale of three women.... A fascinating story, but rendered colorless by its lack of momentum and stock characters. (Jan.)
Publishers Weekly


This story is at once an intricate tale of disparate but coexisting definitions of love and loyalty as well as a tale of what it meant to be a person of power in New York City in the early 20th century. Historical fiction and true crime readers will thoroughly enjoy this book.
Library Journal


In this tale of Jazz Age New York, Lawhon walks one of fiction’s trickiest tightropes, creating a novel that is both genuinely moving and full of pulpy fun.…The imagined events of the novel become even more poignant when the reader discovers that the story is based on the real-life disappearance of Joseph Crater and that most of the characters were real people, like the notorious madam Vivian Gordon and the vile gangster Owney Madden. It’s a great story, told with verve and feeling.
Booklist


Lawhon (Eye of the God, 2009) offers a fictional solution to the never-solved disappearance of New York Supreme Court Judge Joseph Crater in 1930, a headline story in its day.... [O]nly Ritzi's story...carries any dramatic weight. There is some cheesy fun to be had here with Prohibition mobsters and politicians, but the plot and prose are pedestrian.
Kirkus Reviews

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