By Sarah Helm
From an award-winning journalist comes this real-life cloak-and-dagger story of Vera Atkins, one among Britain’s premier mystery brokers in the course of global conflict II.
As the top of the French component to the British unique Operations govt, Vera Atkins recruited, educated, and mentored distinct operatives whose activity used to be to arrange and arm the resistance in Nazi-occupied France. After the battle, Atkins courageously dedicated herself to a perilous look for twelve of her so much adored girls spies who had long gone lacking in motion. Drawing on formerly unavailable assets, Sarah Helm chronicles Atkins’s outstanding existence and her singular trip throughout the chaos of post-war Europe. Brimming with intrigue, heroics, honor, and the horrors of struggle, A existence in Secrets is the tale of a grand, elusive lady and a travel de strength of investigative journalism.
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Extra resources for A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII
Vilayat Inayat Khan remembered trying to stop his sister going on her mission at exactly the time of the meeting at Manetta's. I spoke to him at the family home in Suresnes, near Paris. Nora's harp sat in a corner. “You see, Nora and I had been brought up with the policy of Gandhi's nonviolence, and at the outbreak of war we discussed what we would do,” said Vilayat, who had followed his father and become a mystic. ” I asked. He said no, though in May 1943, when he was on leave, she came suddenly to him and showed him a pill that, if she was captured, she should take to commit suicide, and “I was shattered, shattered.
I have never seen anybody smoke quite like Vera. Her selection of a cigarette was very slow and very deliberate; the neck of the cigarette was handled for quite a few moments, then placed deep in the V of first and second fingers, before it was carefully inserted into the lips, which seemed to descend to take it in. The smoke was never inhaled but was taken into the mouth and then immediately exhaled so that she seemed to be permanently in a cloud of smoke. After a while—when she had made her judgement of me—she ceased to look at me at all and gazed straight in front, or over my head, through the window behind me and over the rooftops of Winchelsea.
Some now were even excited and eager to begin. They probably felt they had learned far more about their new work than in fact they later found they had. They had certainly learnt nothing about Miss Atkins. All they knew was that she would be looking after them from now on. ” “My deaa booay,” said the former French agent Bob Maloubier, mimicking Vera's accent. ” “Benenden and Kensington,” said another, asked to guess her background. “I knew Atkins wasn't her real name,” said a third. How? ” One former staff officer, though, had caught a unique glimpse of Vera in her very earliest days.