Countdown header img desk

MAI SUNT 00:00:00:00

MAI SUNT

X

Countdown header img  mob

MAI SUNT 00:00:00:00

MAI SUNT

X

Promotii popup img

Noutati de luat in vacanta

cu -10% -30%, 2+1 gratis!

Rasfoieste si comanda

carti cu dor de duca!
Close

The Sphinx: The Life of Gladys Deacon - Duchess of Marlborough

The Sphinx: The Life of Gladys Deacon - Duchess of Marlborough - Hugo Vickers

The Sphinx: The Life of Gladys Deacon - Duchess of Marlborough


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, "Whew What a story "' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.

Citeste mai mult

-10%

80.95Lei

89.94 Lei

Sau 8095 de puncte

!

Fiecare comanda noua reprezinta o investitie pentru viitoarele tale comenzi. Orice comanda plasata de pe un cont de utilizator primeste in schimb un numar de puncte de fidelitate, In conformitate cu regulile de conversiune stabilite. Punctele acumulate sunt incarcate automat in contul tau si pot fi folosite ulterior, pentru plata urmatoarelor comenzi.

Livrare in 2-4 saptamani

Plaseaza rapid comanda

Important icon msg

Completeaza mai jos numarul tau de telefon

Poti comanda acest produs introducand numarul tau de telefon. Vei fi apelat de un operator Libris.ro in cele mai scurt timp pentru prealuarea datelor necesare.

Descrierea produsului


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, "Whew What a story "' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
Sunday Times

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, Good Housekeeping

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew What a story ' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.


**The Times and Sunday Times Books of the Year 2020**

'This biography is truly wonderful - a masterclass in storytelling'
SUNDAY TIMES

'A continuously astonishing and ultimately moving account of a unique figure, the stuff of great literature' Simon Callow, SUNDAY TIMES

'Gripping . . . jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, THE TIMES

'Mr. Vickers, with his sharp eye for detail, splendidly captures the drama of Gladys's life and the amazing cast of characters she encountered' WALL STREET JOURNAL

'The last book that made me cry . . . a really thorough and well-researched biography' Lynda La Plante, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'The most extraordinary, rackety life' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Richly anecdotal and oddly captivating' Miranda Seymour, FINANCIAL TIMES

'At the end of the book the reader can only say, Whew! What a story!' Anne de Courcy, SPECTATOR

'Hugo Vickers's life of Gladys Marlborough is an extraordinary and tragic story, with special resonance today' EVENING STANDARD

*******************

One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved.

Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood - her father having shot her mother's lover dead when Gladys was only eleven - to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein.

In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys's circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as 'a strange, glittering being'. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she'd had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.

Intrigued and compelled to unmask the truth of her mysterious life, Vickers visited her over the course of two years, eventually publishing Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, a biography of her life - and his first book - in 1979, two years after Gladys's death. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America.

He once asked Gladys, 'Where is Gladys Deacon?' She answered him slowly, 'Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.' The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege - and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.

Citeste mai mult

Detaliile produsului

De acelasi autor

De pe acelasi raft

Parerea ta e inspiratie pentru comunitatea Libris!

Noi suntem despre carti, si la fel este si

Newsletter-ul nostru.

Aboneaza-te la vestile literare si primesti un cupon de -10% pentru viitoarea ta comanda!

*Reducerea aplicata prin cupon nu se cumuleaza, ci se aplica reducerea cea mai mare.

Ma abonez image one
Ma abonez image one