Queen of Whale Cayby Kate Summerscale
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 cross-dresser 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, female lovers, and a Caribbean island, Whale Cay, where she reigned over a colony of Bahamians. There, far from her bohemian past in London and Paris, she 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 Tod Wadley, a little doll who became her bosom companion. Already a bestseller in England, The Queen of Whale Cay is a marvelous portrait of one of the twentieth century's great eccentrics.
- Bloomsbury UK
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What an odd duck!!! Joe Carstairs was really unusual. She had an awful childhood, but overcame this with an independent spirit. She loved a "doll" all her life. She was the owner of Whale Cay and ran it like a dictator. The biography includes her many lovers, photographs, the story of her boat racing, her adventures during World War One, her friends, her businesses, her poetry, her pranks, her cruelty, her weird lifestyle, and more. Highly recommended. I have now read all of Kate Summerscale's books and will definitely buy her newest one - due soon. This book is short and is weird in places but it deserves an A+++++