Author(s): Charlotte Bingham
From the bestselling author comes a beguiling comic memoir about a young woman who discovers her father is a spy (and was the model for John le Carré's George Smiley) and goes to work as a secretary in 1950s MI5. It seems to me now that everyone who came to our house in those days was a spy. . . When Charlotte Bingham, daughter of an obscure aristocrat, was summoned to her father's office aged eighteen, she never expected to discover that this aloof, soberly-dressed parent was a spy. Even more ominous than The Facts was his suggestion that she should stop drifting around working for the sort of people her mother could never ask to dinner and get a proper job, something patriotic and worthwhile. So Lottie finds herself outside MI5's Mayfair offices in a dreary suit, feeling naked without her false eyelashes. Miserably assigned to the formidable Dragon, Lottie wishes for pneumonia, or anything to release her from the torment of typing. But as another secretary, the serene Arabella, starts illuminating the mysteries of MI5, and Lottie's home fills with actors doubling as spies, Lottie begins to feel well and truly spooked. This hilarious memoir from the bestselling author of Coronet Among the Weeds is a window into 1950s Britain: a country where Russian agents infiltrate the highest echelons, where debutantes are typists and where Englishness is both a nationality and a code of behaviour. Discretion, honour and office politics meet secrecy, suspicion and film stars in this enchanting, extraordinary true story.
From the bestselling author comes a beguiling comic memoir about a young woman who discovers her father is a spy (and was the model for John le Carre's George Smiley) and goes to work as a secretary in 1950s MI5.
Charlotte Bingham wrote her first book, Coronet Among the Weeds, a memoir of her life as a debutante, at the age of 19. It was published in 1963 and became an instant bestseller. She went on the write a further memoir, Coronet Among the Grass. Her father, John Bingham, the 7th Baron Clanmorris, was a member of M15 where Charlotte Bingham worked as a secretary. He was an inspiration for John le Carre's character George Smiley. Charlotte Bingham went on to write thirty-three internationally bestselling novels and, in partnership with her late husband Terence Brady, a number of successful, plays, films and TV series including Upstairs Downstairs and Take Three Girls. She lives in Somerset. charlottebingham.com