12 October 2010

Alice Did It!

Once upon a time in Africa, there was an enclave of druggie, over-indulged, ne'er-do-well Brits who made up Happy Valley. One of the women at Happy Valley was a socialite from middle America with the very European name of Alice de Janzé. More recently, she has become known as merely, The Temptress, thanks to a book of the same title by Paul Spicer.

If ever there is such a thing as a "poor little rich girl" Alice Silverthorne might have been one. There is much conflicting information about her, which is why she is such a fascinating subject and why The Temptress is such a good read. Here is just a partial list of highlights:

Consumptive as a child.

Lost mother at age 8 leaving young Alice loaded. (It is possible that her Mother died after being locked out of he house in the freezing cold, but that's a totally different bio!)

May or may not have been molested by her Father. ( One way or the other, Daddy lost custody.)

Married Comte de Janzé, who was sad that Alice would lose the name "Silverthorne" upon their marriage.

Fell in love with Raymond de Trafford in 1926.

Shot de Trafford who refused to marry her and turned the gun on herself. (F. Scott Fitzgerald used the incident in Tender Is The Night.)

Both lived and eventually married each other... then divorced.

Had an affair with Joss Erroll and then killed him. (According to Spicer.)

Killed herself.

I'm tired just thinking about it. If you read White Mischief or saw the exceptionally melodramatic movie of the same name ( Sarah Miles was cast as Alice), or if you are fond of beautiful train wrecks, do give this a read.

As the influx of expats hit Nairobi, the St. Andrew's Church Woman's Guild, Nairobi compiled the Kenya Settlers' Cookery Book and Household Guide to help the wives adjust. Check out a recipe at Cookbook Of The Day.


  1. Stop. Please. Bookshelves. Overflowing.

  2. Poor little rich girls are the best. Alice de Janzé is right up Barbara Hutton and Brenda Frazier's craziness level. Gotta get this book.


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