April 2019 Newsletter

The Women Whose Secret Work Helped Win World War II

 My lead character, Brice O’ Rourke, is an intelligence agent in the year 2041. Whether the setting is in the past or in the future, agents have a certain allure that speaks of danger, adventure, derring-do and fearlessness that mere mortals could only dream about.

Writers like myself can only conjure of imaginary settings and circumstances that their fictional characters go through, but reading about real adventures of real people is endlessly fascinating and deeply absorbing.

“Before the Central Intelligence Agency, there was the Office of Strategic Services — a clandestine espionage organization of almost 13,000 Americans who, from 1942 to 1945, gathered intelligence for President Roosevelt and wreaked havoc against the Axis powers in every World War II theater. While an ideal O.S.S. recruit was famously described as ‘a Ph.D. who can win a bar fight,’ the staff were diverse in their backgrounds...

“Their ranks included Marlene Dietrich, the actress, and Margaret Mead, a pioneering anthropologist. Julia McWilliams, later known by her married name, Julia Child, cooked up shark repellent. Jane Wallis Burrell went on to become one of the first C.I.A. operatives killed in the line of duty. Thousands of others broke barriers and demolished stereotypes without ever seeking recognition.”

'Traitors' a fascinating espionage thriller in Netflix

Set in the waning days of World War II when the victorious Allied powers have stamped out their totalitarian enemies, Fiona ‘Feef’ Symonds, daughter of a Tory MP agrees to help an American agent from the Office of Strategic Affairs (precursor to The Central Intelligence Agency) unmask Russian spies in the British government.

Without Emma Appleton, the brilliant actress who plays Feef Symonds, ‘Traitors’ released by Netflix this month, would be just another mediocre tale in a long list of World War II espionage thrillers. Born into the entitled, upper crust British society, Appleton is the perfect embodiment of a field agent leading a double life, enjoying the perks of her privileged class and yet doing the terrifying grunt work of spies to ferret out the home-grown turncoats in her own government.

"Traitors  is a satisfyingly grown-up spy thriller. It’s confident enough to tell its political story bare of ‘alternate reality’ dressing, and to trace modern-day political parallels without chipping away at the reality of its period. Russian political influence on the West is a modern subject, yes, but it’s also a 1940s one and a 1920s one, and, hell, a 1720s one." Click on the picture above to watch the trailer of Traitors!

Sinking Your Teeth into the Best Spy Novels

If you want to sink your teeth into the best spy novels, here’s a list from Murder and Mayhem. Graham Greene, Ian Fleming and Frederick Forsythe, some of my favourite authors are included in this list. Bravo!!!

“Espionage, all-consuming and captivating, seamlessly transmits to each page as it holds inspiration from the rivalries and intrigues of major powers. The development of fascism and communism in the lead up to World War II, the development of the Cold War, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies are all factors into the creation and fascination of this literary genre.”