'Lady Killmore' lived a rich, scandalous life

REVIEW: Four-times widowed Sydney socialite led a merry dance through life

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Page-turning biography of a beauty who dazzled rich and famous with style and charm.

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From childhood, Enid Lindeman, already comfortably off as an heiress to Lindeman's wines, had a plan: to marry a very rich man.

As it turned out, she married four very rich men, outliving them all.

Her story is told in an entertaining new biography by Robert Wainwright, titled Enid, under the kicker, "The scandalous life of a glamorous Australian who dazzled the world."

Beautiful, statuesque and once described as the best-dressed woman in Europe, Enid crammed a lot into her life.

She drove an ambulance in World War I, hid escaped Allied airmen behind enemy lines in World War II, played bridge with Somerset Maugham, spent two great fortunes, and entertained Hollywood royalty in the world's most expensive private home on the Riviera.

Enid got off to a flying start in her quest. At 21, the Sydney girl wed shipping tycoon Roderick "Rory" Cameron, a member of New York's social elite, who was establishing an Australian branch of the company.

Sadly, Rory, who was twice Enid's age, died of cancer before their infant son's first birthday.

Now a multi-millionaire, the young widow might have ended her ambitions there.

But as Wainwright writes, she soon shed her widow's weeds and wedding ring and headed for London and Paris.

Turquoise-eyed Enid was captivated by men and they by her: three more husbands followed - a war hero, an Irish earl and another shipping tycoon.

All were rich and all died, earning Enid the nickname "Lady Killmore", which was perhaps a little unfair: scuttlebutt aside, there was never anything to suggest their deaths were suspicious

A true original, she walked her pet cheetah through Hyde Park on a diamond collar. At home on the Riviera, she could be with a parrot on one shoulder and a hyrax on the other.

In later life she lived with her second son in Kenya, where she again found love - for the place and its wildlife.

There's a lot to like about this charming, free-spirited, surprisingly self-effacing woman who for the most part sparkles with good humour.

Of course, she was no angel, as Wainwright shows. But it's clear he has a great fondness for his subject. And going by this unputdownable portrayal of her life, you couldn't blame him.

Enid (Allen & Unwin), Robert Wainwright, RRP $32.99

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