NPR

Virginia Hall, The Subject Of 'A Woman Of No Importance,' Was Anything But

A very smooth read about a rocky life, Sonia Purnell's biography of the masterful WWII spy is a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people — and a little resistance.
A Woman Of No Importance, by Sonia Purnell Source: Viking

It sounds like propaganda meant to misdirect WWII Germans: a lone foreigner running riot in occupied France, everywhere at once, unrecognizable despite a trademark gait, able to bewitch information out of anyone, single-handedly stirring up resistance — and then vanishing.

The German secret police couldn't even be sure what country she was from. It would be easy to believe the Limping Lady wasn't real.

But she was.

Virginia Hall was one of the earliest Special Operations Executive agents Britain sent intosketch. But Sonia Purnell's is a gripping take, tracing Hall's life in the context of hurdles she faced from allies — as much as from enemies.

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