Date: Jan 28, 2014
How did I get this book? free Advance Reader's Copy from the publisher via Shelf Awareness for my honest review
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
GoodReads | Author | Publisher
This book is a fictionalized version of a real-life unsolved mystery -- the disappearance of New York Supreme Court Justice Joseph Crater in 1930. As the author explains in her notes, her inspiration came from the idea that someone knew what really happened, even if the truth has never seen the light of day. How the story plays out in the novel is pure speculation, but it's rooted in the known facts of the case.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started this one, but it really did grab me right from the first page. The voices of Stella (the wife), Maria (the maid), and Ritzi (the mistress) are very distinct, so I had no trouble following the story as it bounced between their different perspectives and also back and forth in time as more information is revealed about the events surrounding the disappearance. Each of the women is fully fleshed out and their individual stories are also an interesting look at the role of women and the obstacles and challenges many faced in that time period. Lawhon manages to bring an era to life, including both the glitz & glamour and the seedy underbelly.
While I was previously completely unaware of this particular event in history, apparently there are many who have followed the case and there has been much published about it over the years. Having recently discussed how accurate historical fiction is (or should be) over on Charleen's blog Cheap Thrills, I found it incredibly helpful that Lawhon wrote a detailed Author's Note at the back of the book in which she distinguishes between what is historically accurate and what is the product of creative license -- brilliant!
Read an excerpt
Reader's Guide/Discussion Questions
My Kind of Mystery
My Kind of Mystery