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Agent Provocateur for Hitler or Churchill? (Hardback)

The Mysterious Life of Stella Lonsdale

Espionage & the SOE P&S History Women of History

By David Tremain
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 296
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526779625
Published: 30th June 2021

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RRP £25.00

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There have been many remarkable women who served British Intelligence during the Second World War. One whose dubious claim to have worked for them is a fascinating tale involving three marriages – the first, to a spurious White Russian prince; the second to a playboy-turned-criminal involved in a major jewellery robbery in the heart of London’s Mayfair in the late 1930s. After the war she became romantically involved with a well-known British Fascist, but finally married another notorious criminal whom she had met earlier during the war.

The descriptions variously ascribed to her ranged from ‘remarkable’ and ‘quite ravishing’ to ‘…a woman whose loose living would make her an object of shame on any farm-yard’.

Until now, very little has been recorded about Stella Lonsdale’s life. She doesn’t even merit a mention in the two official histories of MI5, even though she managed to tie them up in knots for years. This book will explore the role this strange woman may or may not have played in working for British Intelligence, the French Deuxième Bureau, or the Abwehr – German military intelligence – during the Second World War, using her MI5 files as a primary source.

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About David Tremain

David Tremain was born in the UK and studied art at Medway College of Design, Rochester, Kent and paper conservation at Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts. This was followed by work at a London art gallery, and in Reading. He later emigrated to Ottawa, Canada, and retired from public service in 2010. He has written book reviews for the Canadian Association for Security & Intelligence Studies (CASIS) and is an expert on Second World War spy cases. He has published three books on the subject: Rough Justice (2016), Double Agent Victoire (2018) and The Beautiful Spy (2019).

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MI5 is arguably the most secret and misunderstood of all the British government departments. Its enigmatic title – much more than its proper name, the Security Service – stands in the public mind for the dark world of the secret services in general. In reality it has a very specific brief: counter-intelligence. Its object is to combat espionage and subversion directed against the UK. Nigel West’s book traces the history of MI5 clearly and accurately from its modest beginnings in 1909 until 1945, with the main part of the book focussing upon the important role which MI5 played in the Second…

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