Fictional biography of the tragic Elizabeth, Empress of Austria. Here is one of the great romances, the great tragedies of modern history, and it seems to have an irresistible appeal for novelists. Bertita Harding holds the palm for the most successful recent fictionization of the story in Golden Fleece, published in 1937, while The Martyrdom of an Empress, published a generation ago, caught the glamor of the story in its most dramatic form. Where Mrs. Harding gives a sympathetic picture of Franz Josef, and by implication a psychological interpretation of the reasons for Elizabeth's failure to play her part fully, Elizabeth Sprigge attempts no rationalization, and simply presents the facts. The result is a very interesting picture of her childhood and youth, of the whirlwind courtship, of the early years of marriage; and a disappointing interpretation of the subsequent years, from the time of the Hungarian complications, down to the bitter end, with Rudolph's suicide and her own murder. Thoroughly readable -- but with nothing new to contribute.