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Bibliophile price: £6.99
An American heiress, Bohemian, world traveller and author best known for her adventures in the Far East, Aimée Crocker's extravagant parties and collections of husbands and lovers, adopted children, Buddhas, tattoos and snakes had us enthralled. Here are moonlit séances in Honolulu, exotic cobra dances, drinking games with Oscar Wilde; this is the unabashed autobiography of a Victorian world traveller. With the world at her feet and Californian railroad fortunes in her purse, Aimée Crocker had a tale or two to tell and here she boldly delivers her hilarious memoirs of escaping head-hunters in Borneo, avoiding poisoning in Hong Kong and outwitting murder in Shanghai. Never cowered by her skirmishes, with sin, shame or vice, she celebrates her quintet of unfortunate husbands, including a Russian prince almost 40 years her junior, and King Kalakaua of Hawaii, emboldened by her forcefulness to sway over the faint of heart. In her Foreword, Helen Lederer says, 'She canoed down crocodile infested rivers, was seduced by men of dubious pedigree, and on one occasion had a brush with a snake prompting a rather unusual erotic awakening...made her a woman of hope and adventure.' Aimée was indeed a trailblazer who threw herself at new worlds with openness, even pushiness, and 'despite a near fatal train accident, a beheading from a Bornean head hunter, a narrow escape from a rampant warlord and losing to Oscar Wilde in a drinking game, Aimée triumphed.' 312pp, illus.

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