A reluctant spy is born…
An ordinary woman. A book of recipes. The perfect cover for spying…
World War II has just ended, and Britain has established the Control Commission for Germany, which oversees their zone of occupation. The Control Commission hires British civilians to work in Germany, rebuild the shattered nation and prosecute war crimes. Somewhat aimless, bored with her job as a provincial schoolteacher, and unwilling to live with her overbearing mother any longer, thirtysomething Edith Graham applies for a job with the Commission—but she is also recruited by her cousin, Leo, who is in the Secret Service. To them, Edith is perfect spy material…single, ordinary-looking, with a college degree in German. Leo went to Oxford with one of their most hunted war criminals, Count Kurt von Stavenow, who Edith remembers all too well from before the war. They have their own history, and Leo wants her to find him.
Intrigued by the challenge, Edith heads to Germany armed with a convincing cover story: she’s an unassuming Education Officer sent to help resurrect German schools. To send information back to her Secret Service handlers in London, Edith has crafted the perfect alter ego, cookbook author Stella Snelling, who writes a popular magazine cookery column.
Secretly, she is sending coding messages back to the UK, hidden inside innocuous recipes sent to a friend – after all, who would expect notes on sauerkraut or Sunday breakfasts to contain the clues that would crack a criminal underground network?
Billett Sunday Breakfast
Cornflakes or Shredded Wheat
Sausages, bacon, fried potatoes
Toast & Jam
But occupied Germany is awash with other spies, collaborators, and opportunists, and as she’s pulled into their world, Edith soon discovers that no one is what they seem to be.And the closer she gets to the truth, the muddier the line becomes between good and evil. In a dangerous world of shifting loyalties, when the enemy wears the face of a friend, who do you trust?
This is a striking historical novel about an ordinary young British woman sent to uncover a network of spies and war criminals in post-war Germany that will appeal to fans of The Huntress and Transcription.Celia Rees is a fantastic storyteller and wonderful writer – this really shines. All the characters are compelling, but especially resourceful, likable Edith.
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook is a standout in an already strong sub-genre of historical fiction. With a unique, compelling premise, it is a beautifully crafted novel about daring, betrayal, and female friendship. From its gorgeous front cover, to the gripping final pages, this wonderful novel will have you hooked.