Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Spy Wore Red by Aline, Countess of Romanones

This is a memoir, but told in way that makes it hard to distinguish fact from fiction, even though it is from the first person POV. Aline is an American model during world war II with two brothers overseas fighting in the war. She wants to be over there as well so when an opportunity to be a spy for the "baby CIA," called the OSS at the time comes up, she jumps at the chance and heads to Washington for training.
The Spy Wore Red: My Adventures as an Undercover Agent in World War II
This is the part I liked. I liked reading about invisible inks, crawling around on the ground, weapons, and code. Aline also begins a bit of a romance with a fellow operative, nothing really juicy though the man does pop into her window while she is in Spain to steal a kiss. (sigh) The romance stays clean though.

Once Aline goes to Spain... and you would expect the action to pick up here.. it goes downhill for me. I didn't find her to be a very good spy. Her cover is blown from the get go obviously as she is constantly followed and her room is searched. She pretty much (in a fellow operative's words) is a "fashionable front." It becomes a name dropping episode as she parties with this count, converses with this countess, has a shooting match with that prince, and has a bull fighter wooing her by day. All the while, she is no closer to finding out the purpose of her mission: finding the mole in the OSS.

She's such a bad spy that while taking a bath in her Malaga hotel room, someone enters her room. She assumes it's the maid and hollers out "Would you please close the door? I'm in the tub?" Well, um, duh. Naturally her room is totally searched and ransacked while she washes her hair.

Thus, I had some issues with the book so three stars. I liked the beginning and the training parts more than the mission itself. Also, the ending.... good, but I knew it was coming from page 100. It was no surprise.

This was a library book.


  1. Nice review, and I think I'll give it a miss. Thanks!

  2. Just to say, this is a true story.