Books: Endearing monster

MADAME, AN INTIMATE BIOGRAPHY OF HELENA RUBINSTEIN by Patrick O'Higgins. 296 pages. Viking. $7.95.

If no man is a hero to his valet, per-haps no woman can be a heroine to her secretary. That, at least, might be one lesson to be derived from this colorful, bitchy, bizarre biography of the late Helena Rubinstein, written by the rather unctuous Irishman who served as her factotum for nearly 14 years.

Born in Cracow, Poland, "Madame" founded her empire in Australia in the early 1900s by successfully marketing a version of her mother's home-brewed...

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