The Queen of Whale Cay by Kate Summerscale
The Eccentric Story of "Joe" Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water

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Joe Carstairs was reknowned in the 1920s as an "invert" who smoked cheroots and dressed as a man. She was born in a sumptuous Mayfair mansion in 1900, was heiress to the Standard Oil fortune and was the fastest female speedboat racer in the world. In 1934 she disappeared to embark on a course ambitious and bizarre - she bought an island in the West Indies - Whale Cay - and created her own kingdom, founding and ruling the colony of 500 black Bahamians. She entertained a series of glamourous girlfriends, Duchesses and priests, although she reserved her greatest love for her boats, her cars and her only lifelong male companion, her doll, Lord Tod Wadley. When Carstairs died in 1993, aged 93, she was all but forgotten. Kate Sumerscale was assigned to write her obituary for "The Daily Telegraph", and determined afterwards to find out more. This autobiography is the results of her quest.

About Kate Summerscale

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Kate Summerscale is the former literary editor for the "Daily Telegraph" and author of "The Queen of Whale Cay", which won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. Summerscale lives in London.
Published January 1, 1997 by FOURTH ESTATE. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Sports & Outdoors, Gay & Lesbian, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Travel. Non-fiction

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In this superbly written biography, Summerscale brings to life the extraordinary and eccentric "Joe— Carstairs.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Whale Cay: The E...

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Though she came from a country known for its wealthy eccentrics and lived during a time when such types flourished, "Joe" Carstairs, the...

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Whale Cay: The E...


BORN in 1900 “Joe” Carstairs became Britain’s most famous female speed-boat racer and member of the lesbian demi‑monde.

Jun 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Whale Cay: The E...

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