11 June 2010

Summer Reading, the Temptress: Alice


Paul Spicer has written The Temptress for your summer reading pleasure, You should thank him.

Raymond de Trafford, Frédéric de Janzé, our ALICE, and Lord Delamare
image from wiki

Countess Alice de Janze and the unsolved murder of her lover Lord Erroll, is the topic of the "deliciously salacious" (non fictional) Spicer book. Toss in the wilds of Africa and the Twenties era and The Temptress: Passion and Murder in Kenya's Happy Valley is not to be left languishing on the shelf. It won't be on mine long.

from Publisher's Weekly:
The 1941 fatal shooting of British earl Joss Erroll in Kenya made headlines worldwide (and was the subject of the book and movie White Mischief). A cuckolded husband was acquitted, and now Kenyan-born former oil executive Spicer intriguingly fingers his late mother's friend, Countess Alice de Janzé, Joss discarded mistress. Alice complicated and violent love life was possibly attributable to bipolar disorder and to abandonment by her father, a self-made American millionaire, when Alice was 13. Alice married a French count, Frédéric de Janzé, and to escape the stuffy confines of French society, the couple spent much of their time in Kenya. There Alice had two love affairs that, according to Spicer, goaded Alice to violence: she made a botched murder-suicide attempt in 1927 when English aristocrat Raymund de Trafford rejected her, yet they married in 1932 (Alice had already left her husband). Alice had also begun a two-decade-long liaison with Joss. Though Joss had many enemies, Spicer posits that Alice killed Joss, and months later, at age 42, committed suicide, hoping they would be reunited in the afterlife. The author's depiction of the unstable heiress and her milieu of wealthy expatriates cavorting in the Kenyan highlands is engrossing. 8 pages of b&w photos.



If all the sounds familiar- You have just finished The Bolter, by Frances Osborne or seen White Mischief, by James Fox. Lord Erroll-Joss, had been married to The Bolter- Idina Sackville.

All the Players are the same. release date July 20, 2010- a bit of a wait. 
 or here- post haste.

a wonderful in depth post by The Esoteric Curiosa here
White Mischief James Fox
The Bolter Frances Osborne.
& there is the White Mischief movie.


  1. It's nice to have another view of the White Mischief, and Spicer lived in Kenya. His version seems to have been painstakingly researched, and the conclusion very believable.

  2. Always wished I had that order of mischief in my hinterland. I shall just have to live vicariously through The Temptress. A lush post, thank you Gaye.

  3. I am so looking forward to this. I love all those Colonialists in Africa!

  4. This one goes on my must read list! Thank you for your tip!

  5. Yes, a must read. I went to Kenya years ago and stayed at Lord Delamere's camp lakeside. What a stunning experience it was. While I went to experience the spectacle of the wildlife itself - the personalities can be as interesting, if not more so. What a place! I still wax nostalgic for it.

  6. Truly excited to read this...The Temptress sounds to be just the intriguing book I love!

    Art by Karena

  7. Wonderful post! Who needs fiction with so much drama...I'll be sure to add "The Temptress" to my summer reading list!

  8. Gotta love those British colonials, and Charles Dance, who frequently plays one. Was Idina related to Vita Sackville-West of Harold Nicholson "magnetic north" fame? My favorite thing about your posts is the web they entice me into.



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