This is, in essence, a true story. It’s based on the life of a woman who seemed utterly ordinary, even humdrum, on the outside, but was in fact one of the jewels in the crown of British Intelligence between the wars.
When we think of spies we tend to think in cliches. James Bond. George Smiley. Action men or impossibly cerebral thinkers; wielders of a Walther PPK or a chess piece on the chequered board of ‘the great game’.
In fact Olga Gray, who spied for the British throughout most of the 1930s, was a secretary and typist. For real. Her cover was her truth. She infiltrated the British communist movement by doing their typing and filing for them. It took her to the heart of the organisation and her constant bravery and meticulous attention to detail eventually brought a very serious traitor to justice. Yes, A Beautiful Spy is fiction – but it’s also Olga’s truth.
It is 1928. Minnie Gray is deeply frustrated. Her mother’s life-plan for her daughter involves Minnie finding a nice man, getting married, having children, and living out her life in domestic obscurity.
But Minnie wants more. So, so much more. Her daily life as an office secretary hardly seems a doorway to adventure, but that’s exactly what it will turn out to be. Minnie, after a series of accidental and improbable encounters – fate knocking on her door – is recruited by the British government as a spy.
She can tell no-one. Not her mother, her friends; anyone. Her job is to infiltrate the British communist movement as a secretary with left-leaning beliefs, and she succeeds.
A Beautiful Spy follows Minnie on her journey to the heart of a hugely secret organisation with hidden links to the Kremlin. The Russians are infamous for liquidating traitors, and that’s what Minnie risks as her double life puts her under almost impossible mental strain.
A story of true courage, grit, and sacrifice. We loved it.