Books: Little Girl from Keokuk

R.S.V.P.: ELSA MAXWELL'S OWN STORY (326 pp.)—Elsa Maxwell—Little, Brown ($5).

Elsa Maxwell was obviously destined to be the life of the party from birth. That occasion came one memorable evening in the back of a theater box at Keokuk, Iowa. Her mother had miscalculated and had confidently gone to the opera that evening. Elsa's birth cry rose mightily in the middle of a road company mezzo's big aria and overpowered an ill-fated Mignon. After that impressive debut, Elsa grew up poor, plain and plump. Her father was an insurance man and part-time drama...

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