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Discussion Guide - Wife Maid Mistress

Discussion Guide - Wife Maid Mistress

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Published by Doubleday
We hope that this discussion guide will enhance your reading group's enjoyment of The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon.
We hope that this discussion guide will enhance your reading group's enjoyment of The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon.

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Categories:Book Excerpts
Published by: Doubleday on Jan 08, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1. Many of the scandals depicted in
The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress
 could easily be on the cover of
 magazine today. We often tend to romanticize bygone eras like the 1930s. Did this novel open your eyes to the fact that the more things change the more they stay the same? 2. What did you think when Maria returned to Judge Crater’s room and took the envelope her husband had planted there? Was it a gutsy move or foolish?3. There is a very unusual bond that develops between Maria, Ritzi, and Stella. How is their connection different from female friendships today? Are there similarities?4. The three women actually exert a tremendous amount
of influence over the men in their lives, but it’
s all done in a very surreptitious way. What does this say about the dynamic between men and women in the 1930s?5. “Only fools underestimate the strength of Stella Crater.” Were you surprised at Stella’s evolution from seemingly “good wife” to ultimate power player?6. There are some interesting counterpoints going on in the novel: Jude and Maria’s happy marriage compared  with Judge Crater and Stella’s marriage of convenience; Maria’s inability to have a child and Ritzi’s unwanted child. How did these juxtapositions enhance your enjoyment of the novel?7.
Did you find the contents of Ritzi’
s letter to Stella surprising? What about Maria’s role?8. There are many real people and events woven into the storyline. W 
ere you inspired to find out more about
people like Judge Crater, Owney Madden, William Klein, and Ritzi? Who was the person who intrigued  you the most?
9. Who would you cast as Stella, Maria, and Ritzi if the book were to be made into a movie?10. Judge Crater’s disappearance remains a mystery to this day. What do you think happened to him?
Club Abbey:
 46th & 8th Ave. Owned by Owney Madden, this notorious Tammany Hall gathering spot no longer exits. During its heyday, the speakeasy entertained a number of violent gangsters including Jack “Legs” Diamond, Dutch Schulz, and Vincent “Mad Dog” Call. It was not uncommon to see members of the underworld sharing a drink with judges, politicians, and prominent businessmen.
Belasco Theater:
 111 West 44th St. The theater is owned by The Schubert Organization—the company  William Klein worked for—and is still operational today.
Billy Haas’s Chophouse:
 332 West 45th Street.
Joseph Crater ate his final meal here on the evening of
August 6th, 1930 and it is the last place that anyone will admit to seeing him alive. The building still remains though the address does not.
The Schubert Organization:
 The location of  William Klein’
s office, is still thriving. They currently own
seventeen Broadway theaters in New York City.
New York Surrogate’s Court:
 100 Centre Street. This is where Stella Crater went to get the papers of administration after Joe’s disappearance. Without these papers she could not access the money in their bank accounts or tend to any legal issues.

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