2014: 85. The Wife, The Maid and the Mistress

"We begin in a bar.  We will end here as well, but that is more than you need to know at the moment."

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

This is my second time trying to read this book - not because it's lacking in anyway, but because I took it out of the library the first time and put it down somewhere until it was (over)due.  So when I went back and saw it again (it helps that the spine of the hardcover version is neon orange), I thought I'd give it a second try.  Glad I did so - it's a cracking noir-y mystery about the disappearance of a corrupt judge, told through the lenses of the women left behind (duh - his wife, mistress and maid).  Set in 1920's Manhatten, the story has secrets and double crosses, a leggy showgirl, police officers, bootleggers, a rich dame, a sassy maid, and everything you could want.  And, I realized much too late, is based on a real story - Judge Crater really did disappear, and his wife, Stella, really did go to a bar every year and drink a glass in his honor until her own death.  I guess its a sort of culty mystery that people are still obsessed with, and Lawhon's guess is as good as any I saw online.  And she writes well - the story clipped along, the characters were realistic (well, the character of the maid seemed a little anachronistic and un peu Mary-Sueish - she is gorgeous, sexy, the worlds best seamstress, etc.).  Recommended.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017