Spying and culture and novels, oh my!

Street in Morocco

Street in Morocco. I wonder if it looked like this during Aline’s era? Image courtesy of clarita, Morguefile.

Ever read a book that is just written so well, you can barely stand to put it down and take a break? You literally have to pry yourself away from the book (here, I’ll loan you my crowbar) and you’re anxious to get back as quickly as possible so you can finish reading.

For me, these books are anything written by Aline Griffith, later the Countess of Romanones. She was a 1940s-era American model who later began working for the Office of Strategic Services (a predecessor to the CIA) as a spy. Aline married a Spanish count, Luis, in 1947 and they had three children. In addition, she was friends with Wallis Warfield Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor.

I love her books because she not only discusses her intriguing life as a spy in Spanish high society, but also gives a lot of cultural information about Spain and Morocco. She’s written a total of seven books but my favorites are The Spy Wore Silk, The Spy Wore Red,  and The Spy Went Dancing. These books are real-life memoirs of her life as a spy and offer, to me, an interesting window on a unique culture.

Some professional reviewers have cast doubt on the authenticity of her books, but she does state in a foreword in one book that the book is somewhat fictionalized. Fair enough, to my mind. Plus, whether you believe what the Countess says — or not — they’re still a good read for when you’re lying on the beach, swinging in your hammock or relaxing out on the deck.

So here’s the mission for this post: Go out, find the books and enjoy! (And by the way, can I have my crowbar back now?)



Filed under Writing

23 responses to “Spying and culture and novels, oh my!

  1. Thanks! I’m always looking for a good read!

  2. Perhaps these will be a “refill the bath” book? (since I love to read while soaking in a hot bath especially during the colder months . . . which this year appears to be most of the year! . . . a particularly good book for me results in having to drain the bath of enough water that has gone lukewarm to refill with a new layer of hot water to continue reading since I can’t pry myself away!)

  3. JonnaD.

    Sounds fabulous. Always looking for something new and entertaining to read.

  4. Those books definitely sound interesting. I’ll be on the lookout for them, thank you. 😀

  5. Ugh! I usually do NOT let others sway me about what to read and I don’t read military or mystery genre very often. Sniffs your suggestion like cheese in a trap while sighing as I know I will probably now go off looking for it. I might actually have seen The Spy Wore Red already…I have a stack of at least 20 books here from the library now. I’ll look after I finish those. I need a shovel!

  6. I will have it back to you next Tuesday

  7. Sounds interesting. Spy memoir/fiction is always a good read. Sometimes it scares the hell out of you when you think it may have really happened.

  8. She sounds like my kind of author! Definitely will check these out – what a wild era she lived in (all of that can’t help ooze into her books) Who cares if it’s authentic – it’s a story. Love ones you have to let everything slide until you’re done. Thanks.

  9. Always looking for a fun spy thriller, especially those featuring a flamboyant female lead, such as Mrs Pollifax. A high society spy sounds most intriguing.

  10. I’m always looking for a well-crafted mystery. Knowing that it is based on fact is all the better. 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation!

  11. I will totally have to check these out!

  12. Something else to add to my ‘to read’ list!


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