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05 Dec 2019
6.6
Monkeypuzzle, Lucy’s War
Literature

Monkeypuzzle, Lucy’s War 

6.6
Score

Pros

  • In-depth historical research and accuracy
  • Absorbing, intricate story line

Cons

  • Awaiting final editing and publishing for Amazon Kindle and Paperback edition
Is it a page turner?
8.3

Final Verdict

An engaging read with strong factual relevance

“Lucy Fry is an SOE agent on the run from a mission in France. She is lying low in a villa in Villaricos, Spain. She doesn’t know the identity of her neighbour. She cannot know he is the highest-ranking Nazi never found … until she hears him on the phone … Heinrich Müller, ex-Gestapo chief. Mass murderer.

She must contact London; mustn’t lose sight of Müller…”

The British Special Operations Executive (SOE) ‘F’ Section created a significant number of networks or circuits throughout France during World War Two. These networks – from Acolyte to Wrestler – were instructed to acquire intelligence about the enemy and communicate it to SOE HQ in London. The network normally consisted of a circuit leader, a wireless operator and a courier.

Monk also known as the Monkeypuzzle circuit, included a courier named Eliane Plewman. Although French, she was a British agent and a member of the French Resistance. She was involved in many highly successful sabotage missions; but was arrested by the Gestapo and murdered by the SS at Dachau Concentration Camp.

Violette Szabo was another French/British SOE agent during WW2. On her second mission into occupied France, Szabo was captured by the German army. She was interrogated, tortured and deported to Ravensbrȕck concentration camp, where she was executed. She was posthumously awarded to George Cross and many citations from France.

Although disbanded in 1943, Monkeypuzzle is not only a compelling network name; it is also a memorable title for a novel. Additionally, Eliane Sophie Browne Bartroli – her French birth name – is a truly inspirational lady on whom to base the character of Lucy Fry.

Eliane learnt weapons handling, hand-to-hand combat, sabotage, personal survival, radio comms and disguise. Her ability to take on a convincing new identity – as Lucy must – was prerequisite to her role as a courier.

Many of these distinguished ladies worked with the legendary cryptographer Leo Marks, whose One Time Pads probably saved many lives.

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