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Summary

The Portland Spy Ring was one of the most infamous espionage cases from the Cold War. People the world over were shocked when its exposure revealed the shadowy world of deep cover KGB 'illegals' - spies operating under false identities stolen from the dead.

The CIA's revelation to MI5 in 1960 that a KGB agent was stealing crucial secrets from the world-leading submarine research base at Portland in Dorset looked initially like a dangerous but contained lapse of security by a British man and his mistress. But the couple was tailed by MI5 'watchers' to a covert meeting with a Canadian businessman, Gordon Lonsdale. The unsuspecting Lonsdale in turn led MI5's spy-catchers to an innocent-looking couple in suburban Ruislip called the Krogers.

But within weeks the CIA rang the alarm - their critical source of intelligence was to defect within hours - and MI5 was forced to act immediately. The Krogers were exposed as two of the most important Russian 'illegals' ever, whom the Americans had been hunting for years. And Lonsdale was no Canadian, but a senior KGB controller.

This astonishing but true story of MI5's spy hunt is straight from the world of John le Carré and is told here for the first time using hitherto secret MI5 and FBI files, private family archives and original interviews. Its tentacles stretch around the world - from America, to the USSR, Canada, New Zealand, Europe and the UK. Dead Doubles is a gripping episode of Cold War history and a case that fully justified the West's paranoia about infiltration and treachery.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Trevor Barnes (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

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Plodding, but DETAILED, and tediously PC

I persisted with it, but it's pretty pedestrian stuff to be honest . The authors tut-tutting about 1950s and 1960s 'sexism' is frankly tedious, I mean really what could one expect?
None of the characters, with perhaps the marginal exception of Lonsdale (Konan Molody) are in the slightest bit attractive. Houghton and Gee were so banal as to be boring. The "Krogers" (alias the Cohens) were clearly swivel eyed ideologues. The author failed to exploit the opportunity to explore the war records of Maurice Cohen and Molody, particularly the role of Cohen in the Spanish Civil War, it might have been more interesting than the narrative we got.

2 people found this helpful