My Book Series

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

“The Spy Who Loved”: Britain’s most glamorous agent

“The Spy Who Loved”: Britain’s most glamorous agent

"Not long after a woman going by the name of Christine Granville was stabbed to death in the hallway of a London hotel in 1952, five men formed a pact to “protect” her memory. They sought to preserve it from sensational newspaper and book accounts of her life as a hero of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), an intelligence force deployed against the Nazis during World War II. Most particularly, the pact planned to — and, for a while, succeeded at — squelching depictions of Christine Granville as a woman who had had affairs with many men. Ironically, most of the men in the pact were themselves her former lovers, and had at times been rivals for her affection. That even in death she was able to inspire this kind of devotion indicates what an extraordinary woman she was. It also didn’t hurt that she had saved most of their lives.
“The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville” by Clare Mulley is the most frank and comprehensive tribute yet to Christine — the name Mulley choose to use for her. She was born Krystyna Skarbek, the daughter of a Polish count and a Jewish banking heiress, in Warsaw in 1908. “Christine Granville” was one of her many alternate names, and one she was proud of, remarking that she’d certainly “earned” it in service of the British war effort. Yet she identified most profoundly as a Polish patriot, and all her life she wore the signet ring of her aristocratic family, whose members include Chopin’s earliest patron."

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