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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for a rainy weekend.
Do you ever read a book you enjoy so much that you hunt down similar books about similar subjects to fill the void? It never works. After Paul Spicer's 'The Temptress,' I read Frances Osbourne's 'The Bolter,' which was an anti-climax.

This book, by contrast, was an absolute delight. I can't recommend it highly enough. Spicer is clearly invested in his subject,...
Published on 23 July 2012 by Boo Radley

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not proven
An interesting and well written account of the life of Alice, Countess De Janze, one of the Happy Valley set. However, the author's contention that Alice murdered Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll, is based on speculation rather than fact. As a candidate for the murder Alice is at best in the "possible but not probable" category and, with so much time passed and all possible...
Published on 3 Dec 2012 by H. Rogers


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for a rainy weekend., 23 July 2012
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This review is from: The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice, Countess De Janze (Paperback)
Do you ever read a book you enjoy so much that you hunt down similar books about similar subjects to fill the void? It never works. After Paul Spicer's 'The Temptress,' I read Frances Osbourne's 'The Bolter,' which was an anti-climax.

This book, by contrast, was an absolute delight. I can't recommend it highly enough. Spicer is clearly invested in his subject, Alice De Janze, an uncommonly beautiful American heiress and member of Kenya's notorious Happy Valley Set between the wars. The writing is flawless, evocative and transporting. The subject matter is engrossing. Spicer writes about Alice incisively, striking exactly the right balance between analysis and narrative, maintaining exactly the right distance from a subject with whom he is somewhat connected (she was friends with his mother.) This is a story you'll read without blinking, until you realise it's 4am and you're disappointed to be finished. The pace and tone of the narrative is compelling, too. Just when you feel the story is meandering along at a comfortably pleasant pace, something terrifically dramatic happens, and Alice De Janze's life was punctuated with a lot of cinematically melodramatic moments.

The most infamous of these incidents in the book is the murder of Lord Erroll (the subject of 'White Mischief,' a book by historian James Fox, and later a film of the same title.) A reviewer below criticises Spicer for his theory about Erroll's murder, and this is probably legitimate. I haven't read 'White Mischief,' so Spicer's is effectively the first theory about Erroll's death that I have read. For this reason, I was pretty easily persuaded. Those who are more widely read in this area can better judge. However, as an ignorant but interested reader I enthusiastically recommend this to like-minded readers. It's a little bit racy and a lot scandalous, but also thoughtful and empathetic, offering new insight into a beautiful, complicated and deeply troubled woman.

I went on to read Karen Blixen's 'Out of Africa' for the first time, which I loved. I can also recommend 'Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death in Africa' by Mark Seal. I plan to read 'White Mischief' and 'Too Close To The Sun: The Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton' by Sara Wheeler. Since finishing 'The Temptress', I find I almost miss the heady atmosphere of white Kenya and the African landscape. I want to read more books with lions in them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 8 Sep 2011
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This review is from: The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice, Countess De Janze (Paperback)
Bought this book for reading on holiday, having watched the film "White Mischief" and being rather intrigued about all the lives and loves of the "Happy Valley" set. An interesting story. Only one drawback - I was so keen to continue reading page after page, that before I knew what had happened, I had finished the book before the holiday was over!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not proven, 3 Dec 2012
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H. Rogers - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice, Countess De Janze (Paperback)
An interesting and well written account of the life of Alice, Countess De Janze, one of the Happy Valley set. However, the author's contention that Alice murdered Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll, is based on speculation rather than fact. As a candidate for the murder Alice is at best in the "possible but not probable" category and, with so much time passed and all possible suspects long dead, the murder is unlikely to ever be solved. James fox's White Mischief is still the most plausible account of what may actually have happened.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now we know, 26 Jan 2013
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I have often wondered about the truth behind the murder of Joss and believe that the whole affair was a cover up from start to finish. Paul Spicer`s book is a refreshing new insight into the REAL murderer. Great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, I think he's right., 5 Sep 2014
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Lady Anne Shaw (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Really good - fascinating. I now feel that Paul Spicer is correct in proposing Alice as murdered of Lord Errol. Read many books about this, but this is thought-provoking when you think you have read everything! Thanks, Paul
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4.0 out of 5 stars 'Happy Valley', 26 Aug 2013
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Enjoyed the book and thought it brought the characters of Kenya's infamous 'Happy Valley' alive. A good and enjoyable read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interested in the book because I was born in Kenya ..., 17 Nov 2014
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Interested in the book because I was born in Kenya. The book should be read in conjunction with "White Mischief" by James Fox.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Temptress, 10 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice, Countess De Janze (Paperback)
Fascinating story of Alice. DId she or didn't she ??? Yes I think so !
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4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended., 7 Sep 2014
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Really interesting -more so than "The Bolter". Recommended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read, 6 May 2013
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This review is from: The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice, Countess De Janze (Paperback)
Well written and keeps your interest. Perhaps a little more criticism of the privileged elite would have been appropriate. Parasites are parasites
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