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Secrets in a Dead Fish: The Spying Game in the First World Warby Melanie King
Synopses & Reviews
How did German intelligence agents use a dead fish to convey critical information to their operatives? What did an advertisement for a dog in the Times have to do with the movement of British troops into Egypt? And why did British officers suddenly become suspicious of the trousers hanging on a Belgian womanand#8217;s washing line?
Throughout World War I, spymasters and their networks of secret agents developed many cleverand#151;and sometimes comicaland#151;methods of covert communication. Stacks of bread in a bakery window, puffs of smoke from a chimney, and even woolen pullovers were all used to pass on secret messages that were decipherable only to the well-trained eye. Drawing on the memoirs of eight spies, Melanie King divulges these and other tricks of the trade while sharing details from their astonishing stories. Among her informants are British intelligence officers working undercover in Germany and France, including a former Metropolitan police officer who once hunted Jack the Ripper; a German secret service officer codenamed and#147;Agricola;and#8221; an American newspaperman; and an Austrian agent who disguised himself during his career as everything from a Jewish peddler to a Russian officer.
A fascinating compendium of clever and long-forgotten rusesand#151;interspersed with the stories of the spies themselvesand#151;Secrets in a Dead Fish sheds new light on the shadowy world of Great War espionage.
Melanie King retells the astonishing story of these and many other tricks of the espionage trade, now long forgotten, through the memoirs of eight spies. Among them are British intelligence officers working undercover in France and Germany, including a former officer from the Metropolitan Police who once hunted Jack the Ripper. There is also the German Secret Service officer, codenamed Agricola, who spied on the Eastern Front, an American newspaperman and an Austrian agent who disguised himself as everything from a Jewish pedlar to a Russian officer.
Drawing on the words of many of the spies themselves, Secrets in a Dead Fish is a fascinating compendium of clever and original ruses that casts new light into the murky world of espionage during the First World War.
About the Author
Melanie King is the author of several books, including The Dying Game: A Curious History of Death and Prophets, Seers & Visionaries.
Table of Contents
1. A life of adventure?
2. Tricks of the trade
3. Languages of victory: secret codes
4. 'Conceal me what I am': identity and disguise
5. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we spy
6. The walls have ears: eavesdrops and wiretaps
7. The female of the species
8. Tools of the trade
9. Loose lips: gossips and counterspies
NOTES AND REFERENCES
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History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime