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Signed, Mata Hari: A Novelby Yannick Murphy
Synopses & Reviews
In the cold October of 1917 Margaretha Zelle, better known as Mata Hari, sits in a prison cell in Paris awaiting trial on charges of espionage. The penalty is death by firing squad. As she waits, burdened by a secret guilt, Mata Hari tells stories, Scheherazade-like, to buy back her life from her interrogators.
From a bleak childhood in the Netherlands, through a loveless marriage to a Dutch naval officer, Margaretha is transported to the forbidden sensual pleasures of Indonesia. In the chill of her prison cell she spins tales of rosewater baths, native lovers, and Javanese jungles, evoking the magical world that sustained her even as her family crumbled. And then, in flight from her husband, Margaretha reinvents herself: she becomes an artist's model, circus rider, and finally the temple dancer Mata Hari, dressed in veils, admired by Diaghilev, performing for the crowned heads of Europe. Through all her transformations, her life's fatal questions---was she a traitor, and if so, why?---burns ever brighter.
A tale inspired by the life of the exotic dancer and infamous spy finds a woman awaiting execution in Paris and attempting to save herself by recounting the story of her Netherlands childhood, self-reinvention after ending a loveless marriage, and performances for the crowned heads of Europe. 20,000 first printing.
About the Author
Yannick Murphy is the author of Stories in Another Language, The Sea of Trees, and Here They Come. She lives in Reading, Vermont, with her husband and three children.
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