Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and a London Times bestseller, The Queen of Whale Cay is a marvelous portrait of one of the twentieth century's great eccentrics.
When Marion "Joe" Carstairs died in 1993 at the age of ninety-three, she was largely forgotten. During the 1920s she held the world record as the fastest female speedboat racer. But as journalist Kate Summerscale discovered, when researching an obituary for the Daily Telegraph, Carstairs was also a notorious crossdresser who favored women and smoked cheroots. Supremely self-confident, she inherited a Standard Oil fortune and knew how to spend her money--on fast boats and cars, on her female lovers, and on a Caribbean Island, Whale Cay, where she reigned over a colony of Bahamians. There, far from her bohemian past in London and Paris, Carstairs hosted a succession of girlfriends and celebrities, including Marlene Dietrich and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Through it all, she remained devoted to Lord Todd Wadley, a little doll who was her bosom companion until the very end.
"A small jewel of a biography." --The New Yorker
"Riveting . . . reads like a fastpaced, truelife adventure. . . . A personal, intimate portrait of an outrageous, oddly admirable woman." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Fun and funny. . . Summerscale tells her story with an affectionate, knowing eye . . . in a narrative style that captures the tone and spirit of Carstairs' times." --The Boston Globe
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
British eccentric Marion "Joe" Carstairs (1900-1993) was a world-class speedboat racer, heiress to the Standard Oil fortune, ruler of her own Caribbean Island ... and a cross-dressing lesbian. This biography places Carstairs's adventurous life in the context of 20th-century attitudes toward sexual deviance. During the permissive 1920s, Carstairs was able to flaunt her taste for women in the bohemian circles of London and Paris. She had affairs with numerous gals, including Natalie Barney and Dolly Wilde, Oscar's niece. When writing about Carstairs's boat races, the press of that roaring decade regarded her as a loveable tomboy. But as social norms shifted in the '30s, Carstairs's lifestyle was frowned upon. So she acquired Whale Cay, an island off the coast of Florida, turned it into her own version of paradise, became a gentleman farmer, and had an affair with Marlene Dietrich. Carstairs's most important and long-term relationship, though, was with Lord Tod Wadley, a stuffed leather doll. --Rebecca BrownAbout the Author:
Born in 1965 Kate Summerscale was brought up in Japan, England and Chile. She took a double-first at Oxford, an MA in Journalism from Stanford University, California, and for some years wrote and edited obituaries on the Daily Telegraph. Now, she writes features for the Telegraph.
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Book Description FOURTH ESTATE LTD, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 1857026683