Francis King

A Guilesome Girl

Mistress of the Elgin Marbles: A Biography of Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin


Wiley 294pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Among the three recommendations on the back of the jacket of this biography is one from Christopher Hitchens, himself the author of a provocative and lively book on the Elgin Marbles. Susan Nagel, he writes, has brought off the feat of ‘showing again that behind the most ginger guy there is a guilesome girl’. The uncharacteristically slangy phrasing of the compliment suggests, rightly as it turns out, that here is a book not so much for the serious student of history as for the devotee of historical novels.

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