The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

  • by Ariel Lawhon
  • Narrated by Ann Marie Lee
  • 12 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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?


What the Critics Say

"Lee's consistent and distinct vocalizations, complete with a variety of accents and dialects, guide listeners through this absorbing story.... Lee's careful use of emphasis and drama leaves it up to listeners to decide whom to trust." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Entertaining Listen for NYC History Fans

Two caveats for anyone considering this audio book:

1) If you don't have a particular interest in New York City history and/or the Jazz Age/Prohibition era, the story alone might not be enough to keep your interest. For me, much of the pleasure from this book was derived from the setting and the notorious cast of real-life characters.

2) The story is told out of chronological sequence, so you'll need to pay attention to the month and day at the beginning of each chapter. (I wish I'd realized this from the start--it's easy to miss at first when listening instead of seeing the chapter headings in print.)

Overall, Ariel Lawhon weaves a nice narrative and Ann Marie Lee does a masterful job of bringing the characters to life, especially Stella Crater and Sally Lou Ritz. (The transition from the cut-glass elegance of Stella to the street-smart showgirl of Sally is truly impressive!)
The time-shifting narrative is a little hokey and clunky at times but on the whole I think it was effective in making the progression of the story more interesting.
And Lawhon's final reveal, while highly improbable, is still satisfying enough for me to hope it's actually true!

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- Sand

Fabulous Story!

Murder, intrigue, romance depicting 1930s America in New York City. I had a hard time walking away from the book. A must read.
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Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-28-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio