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The Amazing Mrs Livesey

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An attractive young woman from a respectable middle-class family in Manchester, Ethel Livesey had over forty aliases, eight official marriages, four children and five divorces at a time when divorce was totally scandalous. Her story stretches from industrial England to the French Riviera, from Ireland to New York, Shanghai, New Zealand, the Isle of Man and across Australia. Ethel claimed she was a cotton heiress, wartime nurse, casino hostess, stowaway, artist, opera singer, gambler, spy, close friend of the King, air raid warden, charity queen and even wife of Australian test cricketer Jack Fingleton. But what was fact and what was fiction? When her career imploded (with the abandonment of her glittering society marriage in post-war Sydney just two hours before the guests were due to arrive), the story of the Amazing Mrs Livesey was blazoned across newspapers around the world. For nearly a year, the public was kept enthralled by reports of her adventures and scams. But even then the whole truth never emerged - until now. With a prologue by Ethel Livesey's granddaughter, Freda Nicholls' account of Ethel's life is based on tapes and transcripts recorded by her son two years before his death, as well as interviews with descendants of those who knew her, numerous court, police, divorce and immigration records around the world, together with a multitude of contemporary newspaper articles.
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Table of Contents

Prologue 1 Miss Swindells 2 Mrs Carter 3 Mrs Taylor 4 Mrs Smith 5 Mrs Ward 6 Mrs Lee 7 Mrs Spurgess 8 Mrs Giblett 9 Mrs Hourn 10 Mrs Anderson 11 Mrs Baker 12 Mrs Thompson & Gloria Grey 13 Mrs Gardiner 14 The Drapery Affair & Nurse Florence Anderson 15 Miss Hordern 16 Mrs Ann Derson 17 Miss Turner 18 Lady Betty Balfour 19 Miss Harvey 20 Mrs Coradine 21 Mrs Livesey 22 The Falcon Cliff Hotel 23 Ivydene 24 Fortune Taken to Australia 25 Mr Beech & The Wedding of the Century 26 Police Want to Question Heiress 27 Society Woman Arrested! 28 Mrs Livesey Missing 29 Mrs Percy 30 Up on the Big Screen 31 Thousands Wait to See Mrs Livesey 32 Going for Broke 33 Mrs Livesey Again Missing 34 Where Did All the Money Go? 35 Going After the Lawyers 36 The Crocodile-Skin Case 37 Mrs Livesey Explains 38 Mrs Nan Glover 39 Mrs Ethel Nelson Aftermath Author's Note and Acknowledgments


About the Author

Freda Marnie Nicholls lives and works on her husband's family farm in Gundagai in southern New South Wales. She was a rural journalist for fourteen years during which time she had the pleasure of interviewing many interesting people. She believes that everyone has a story.


This is one of those yarns from Australian history that makes you wonder why a film hasn't been made about it... it is a lively retelling of the tale that should have producers knocking on Nicholls's door soon. * Daily Telegraph (Sydney) * It's an entertaining story with attention to detail - explained in the author's notes at the end of the book as 'factional history', real and imagined people and events woven together. It seems an enterprise worthy of Mrs Livesey herself. * Herald Sun *

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