Paul Paillole joined the French army in 1925 and was transferred to the Secret Services in 1935. Although initially reluctant to be desk-bound he rapidly excelled at the job. At the outbreak of the war Paillole was prominent in the active counter-espionage branch, the 5th Bureau. After the defeat of France in 1940 he led a clandestine counter-espionage network which operated from Marseille under the codename ‘Travaux Ruraux’, whose role was to arrest German collaborators, though the reality may have been murkier. Operating at the heart of the Vichy regime, he was a key figure in dealings between the Vichy government, the Germans, the Allies, and the French factions vying for post-war power. He wrote two books, one about his own experiences, and this one about the Hans-Thilo Schmidt affair which he witnessed at first hand. He died in 2002.