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Agent Provocateur for Hitler or Churchill? (ePub)

The Mysterious Life of Stella Lonsdale

P&S History WWII > Espionage & the SOE Women of History

By David Tremain
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 20.9 MB (.epub)
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526779632
Published: 27th July 2021


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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.

I should probably admit that I had never heard of Stella Lonsdale, but in a way, I can see why and why not. In a fascinating book that delves deep into the story and the circumstances involved, the information is a lot and very comprehensive. Hopefully, this isn’t spoiling it for anyone but this book clears her name of being any sort of spy for Nazi Germany. Although her lifestyle and friends might not have been to everyone’s taste, this book digs deep and does a lot of research to vindicate her and is very comprehensively written. I think this book could deter some readers because there was a lot of detail and information, but I pushed on through and in the end, it was a good read. Certainly one for those that love their spy game type reads.

Read the full review here

The History Fella

As featured in

The Armourer

David Tremain tells the fascinating tale of Stella Lonsdale, who may have been the most entrenched of spies during WW2.

Books Monthly

'Nymphomaniac' WW2 spy accused of Nazi loyalties has her name cleared in new study

The Mirror 07/06/21

‘Nymphomanic’ spy Stella Lonsdale vindicated at last

The Times 07/06/21

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 five books on the subject: Rough Justice (2016), Double Agent Victoire (2018), The Beautiful Spy (2019), Agent Provocateur for Hitler or Churchill? (2021) and Double Agent Balloon (2023).

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