Book details

The Wharton Plot

A Novel

Author: Mariah Fredericks

The Wharton Plot

The Wharton Plot


About This Book

Mariah Fredericks' mesmerizing novel, The Wharton Plot, follows renowned novelist Edith Wharton in the twilight years of the Gilded Age in New York as she tracks a killer.

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Book Details

Mariah Fredericks' mesmerizing novel, The Wharton Plot, follows renowned novelist Edith Wharton in the twilight years of the Gilded Age in New York as she tracks a killer.

New York City, 1911. Edith Wharton, almost equally famed for her novels and her sharp tongue, is bone-tired of Manhattan. Finding herself at a crossroads with both her marriage and her writing, she makes the decision to leave America, her publisher, and her loveless marriage.

And then, dashing novelist David Graham Phillips—a writer with often notorious ideas about society and women’s place in it—is shot to death outside the Princeton Club. Edith herself met the man only once, when the two formed a mutual distaste over tea in the Palm Court of the Belmont hotel. When Phillips is killed, Edith's life takes another turn. His sister is convinced Graham was killed by someone determined to stop the publication of his next book, which promised to uncover secrets that powerful people would rather stayed hidden. Though unconvinced, Edith is curious. What kind of book could push someone to kill?

Inspired by a true story, The Wharton Plot follows Edith Wharton through the fading years of the Gilded Age in a city she once loved so well, telling a taut tale of fame, love, and murder, as she becomes obsessed with solving a crime.

Imprint Publisher

Minotaur Books



In The News

One of BookBub’s “Best Historical Mysteries of 2024”
One of BookRiot’s “Best New Book Releases Out January 23, 2024”
One of CrimeReads’ “10 New Books Coming Out This Week”
One of The Christian Science Monitor’s “Get Carried Away with January’s Best Books”

“Superb . . . Thanks to a literary plot laced with arch wit and precise put-downs, appearances by Wharton’s famous friends (including Henry James and the Vanderbilts), and an eclectic assortment of the upper crust in the waning days of a varnished era, Fredericks hits this one out of the park.”—Library Journal (Starred Review)

“[The Wharton Plot is] a vivid, fascinating, entertaining mystery. Readers looking for a bit of history with their suspense will be gripped.”—Publishers Weekly

"Fredericks’ elegantly written narrative gives a lively look at an author way ahead of her time."—Kirkus Reviews

"Written with grace and wit, The Wharton Plot is a pleasure to read."—Wall Street Journal

"Based on the real murder of Phillips, Fredericks' latest will especially appeal to bibliophiles, who will enjoy reading tidbits about the real-life authors who appear."—Booklist

"If you can’t get enough of the cosseted and corseted high-society women showcased in Max’s The Gilded Age, this mystery, set in 1911, when this era of opulent wealth and waste was in its death throes, will have you yearning for a time machine . . . Come to this novel for the engrossing mystery, stay for the cinematic portrait of an aging woman who fears her popularity is waning and whose marriage is dissolving, even as she’s struggling with feeling obsolete in a modernizing world.” —Oprah Daily

"The Wharton Plot is an atmospheric murder mystery... [It] expertly blends historical facts with clever fictional details to create an absorbing drama in the vein of Wharton's own splendid novels, complete with that famed author's dry wit, social observations, and stylistic flourishes."—Shelf Awareness

“Fredericks’ mystery reads like a story from an earlier time, as it should . . . simply unputdownable.”—BookPage

“Fascinating . . . Solid plotting, vivid characters and a touch of humor make The Wharton Plot a winner, and may inspire readers to rediscover this author’s timeless novels.”—Sun Sentinel

"Fredericks peels away the grande dame façade to create a plausible, sympathetic character . . . A quick Google search will reveal the killer’s identity, but where’s the fun in that? His story is stranger than fiction, and Fredericks sets it up neatly, if not 100 percent accurately, to fit her narrative. Fans of HBO’s The Gilded Age who want more depth about this era, as well as admirers of the woman herself, will be enthralled."—Air Mail

“[A] dazzling, magical foray into the life of Edith Wharton... Sure to be one of the best books of the year, and a perfect choice for book groups that appreciate a rich context.”—First Clue (Book of the Week)

The Wharton Plot is also a pure confection of a novel. A lavish and delightful journey to the past with an intriguing mystery, plenty of authentic details, and a main character readers can’t help but love. The narrative voice shines throughout and brings to life this formidable woman who once again refuses to be overlooked.”—BOLO Books

“The Wharton Plot is a glorious escape into gilded-age New York. Mariah Fredericks has deeply researched the secret history of Edith Wharton and her friends and mixed in a generous dose of book publishing history to add to this suspenseful mystery. Her best book yet.”—Sujata Massey, internationally bestselling author of The Widows of Malabar Hill

"In The Wharton Plot, Mariah Fredericks pens a tale of author Edith Wharton, who unexpectedly finds herself taking on the role of detective to solve the mystery of who murdered a rival novelist. Set against the vivid background of New York’s Gilded Age, The Wharton Plot is an original, engaging and highly entertaining page-turner."—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Sapphire

"Mariah Fredericks brilliantly captures Edith Wharton in all her barbed wit and complexity as she navigates New York society and the male-dominated world of publishing. A moving and deftly crafted mystery with surprisingly modern relevance."—Carol Goodman, author of The Bones of the Story

About the Creators

The Wharton Plot

The Wharton Plot