Something a bit different from author Charlotte Bingham, in the form of a delightful memoir of her time working as a secretary in the 1950s for MI5.

When her father must admit his boring and aloof parent is a spy, and the subsequent model for John LeCarre’s George Smiley, her astonishment is real.

So is her perplexing father’s idea that the series of middling jobs she’s had need to go, and something worthwhile and patriotic take its place.

Welcome to the Mayfair headquarters and the typing pool under the formidable Dragon. Used to her false eyelashes and heavy makeup, Lottie soon finds those things will be left behind her, as will swearing and nice long lunches.

Bingham had a front row seat to a time when Russian agents were around every corner, actors were recruited as spies, and her fellow debutantes found a new code of behavior to follow.

Filled with humor, where readers can see the bones of her comedy writing with her husband, Terence Brady, Bingham also writes dramas, screenplays, and multiple novels, following in her father’s footsteps, as the 7th Baron Clanmorris wrote crime novels when he wasn’t dabbling in MI5 events.

Advertisements