Polish native Christine Granville, born Krystyna Skarbeck, was, purportedly, Winston Churchill's favorite spy. A contestant for Poland's national beauty contest in 1930, she married twice and had a number of lovers. She was Britain's first female secret service agent. To say that her life is the stuff of legend is to put it mildly. Clare Mulley's newest biography The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville
sifts through the stories, fabrications, and tall tales surrounding this World War II secret agent to discover who Granville really was. The resulting biography brims with details and vignettes about her colorful life.
The daughter of a Polish aristocrat, Count Jerzy Skarbek, Granville enjoyed an indulgent childhood on a lush plantation in Poland where she ran with the horses and stayed indoors as little as possible. She craved freedom, was...
Beyond the Book
Christine Granville worked for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), an organization set up to assist European resistance movements and according to Winston Churchill, "to set Europe ablaze." The SOE was formed from three different but overlapping units: a propaganda unit known as Department EH run by a Canadian newspaper magnate; Section D, a division of the Secret Intelligence Service focused on sabotage and propaganda; and a department of the War Office, known as MI R. In July 1940, all three were rolled into one organization - the Special Operations Executive.
Although expectations were high for the SOE, there was trouble in the early months. The organization faced three primary challenges: how to recognize resistance movements, how to communicate with them, and how to...