Customer Reviews for

The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice de Janze and the Mysterious Death of Lord Erroll

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted June 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    excellent biography and much more

    In 1899 Alice Silverthorne was born in Buffalo. Her father was a self made lumber baron and her mother a Chicago socialite. In 1913 the family imploded as law suits are filed to include custody of Alice. In 1920 Alice and her guardian Aunt Tattie go to Paris where she meets Count Frederic de Jantze. They marry and she gives birth to her first child in 1922. The family spends much of their time in Kenya. In 1927 Alice fails to kill herself and her lover Lord Raymund de Trafford when he dumped her. Five years later he becomes her second spouse. Meanwhile from almost her arrival in Kenya she has an affair for years with Joss Hay (Lord Erroll). In 1941 Joss is shot to death; soon after Alice commits suicide.

    The cold case murder was international news in 1941 and made into a book by James Fox and movie White Mischief. Using family documents and photos as Paul Spicer's mom was a friend of Alice; the author makes a strong argument that the apparently passionate delusional Alice killed Joss and then herself. Historical fans and biographical readers will fully enjoy "The Scandalous Life of Alice de Jantze and the Mysterious Death of Lord Erroll" as Mr. Spicer provides a deep nonfiction account in which he defends his assertion that Alice killed Erroll in her quest to be loved.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2011

    Pretty good, could use more research

    This book is ok, I enjoyed it, however the end gets pretty boring and obscure. The first half of the book I found myself absorbed in the story. But towards the middle I found myself wondering what this book was really about. Would be better described as a biography of this woman's life, than a story about an unsolved murder. Most of the story has nothing to do with the victim at all or his relationship with the assumed murderess. Lots of speculation that seemed somewhat far-fetched.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2010

    Living in Another World

    Spicer works hard to bring Alice to life: his research is impeccable but his prose is lackluster and his ability to breath life into such a fascinating subject is questionable. His hypothosis of the Erroll murder is well constructed and he makes a case for Alice-as-culprit. But he neglects her early life, gives little or no real information about why her father lost custody. Generally, he gives laundry lists of potential 'symptoms' of her psychological ills but he never attempts to capture her allure. The second half of the book, covering her life in Kenya, is better and it's clear that the writer is on more comfortable turf. However, it also seemed that he was much too afraid of insulting or offending people to write a serious biography without restraint, which is a pity because Alice deserves it.

    I enjoyed this book but it lacks intensity. The writing is quite bland and so disconnected from its subject that Spicer seems to be offering apologies all 'round on Alice's behalf. He whitewashes so much that I found myself wondering more often than not what was cut from the text. All in all, a solid B but no more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2011

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