Spy Who Loved
The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville
Date of publication: April 2013
Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, George Medal, OBE and Croix de Guerre, was the first woman to work for the British as a secret agent during the Second World War, a prototype for the women agents of the SOE, which had yet to be formed. Aristocratic and Polish-born, Christine was in many ways a difficult woman, but she was also one of the most daring female secret agents, at times exhibiting an almost psychotic longing for danger; the most adored, with a string of lovers; and the most effective, serving between December 1939 to May 1945, including periods in occupied Poland and France where an agent's life-expectancy was only six weeks. The charismatic Christine was used to commanding respect and adoration and though not classically beautiful she nevertheless held a 'mesmeric attraction' over men, from Polish war heroes and British secret agents to German Gestapo officers.
Reputedly both Churchill's favourite spy, and the inspiration for Ian Fleming's Vesper Lynd, her life is extraordinary and ended in her horrific murder after the war. And it's all the more interesting for being so little known.