Synopsis: When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city. As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men.
But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage. Told in Mata Hari’s voice through her final letter, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to defy convention and who paid the ultimate price
Me: I actually managed to read this in one sitting and it’s been a long time since I was able to say that about a book. Mata Hari is one of those people whose name I knew but didn’t know why I knew it so I had a quick look around Google before starting.
The book itself tells the story of how Margaretha Zelle became Hari and her subsequent arrest and assassination for spying during World War 1. It’s done quite cleverly through two letters one from her to her solicitor and a response both most likely never to read by the other due to her death.
I liked the letter writing premise, it made a nice change of pace from other books. It’s quite short – just over two hundred pages so I imagine an awful lot of history is missed however it covers the key areas and the controversial decision as to whether she really was a double agent.
It doesn’t offer any answers as such, Hari obviously states her innocence and the solicitor is insistent he did nothing wrong and did his best to prove her innocence providing certain evidence that shows how flimsy the details were that secured her guilty verdict.
Overall it’s a fast paced, romanticised version of events, the book flows lovely and I’d happily check out some of the authors other works.
I received a free ARC from netgalley in return for an honest review