The Innocent Spy.
I found this novel interesting for several reasons: part of the storyline is based on true events, and one of the characters is based on Charles Maxwell Knight (head of the counter-subversion department of MI5 during WWII and thought to be the model for James Bond's boss, M); other characters are also based on real people. The novel also presents a slightly different view of the blitz than I've encountered before, as well as the emotional stress suffered by parents who sent their children away from London during the nightly bombings.
Detective Ted Stratton becomes involved with the murder of a silent film star that has officially been designated suicide or accident. His investigation eventually brings him into contact with Diana Colthorp who is participating in a covert operation for MI5.
While parts of the novel are a bit slow, the storyline concerning MI5 and espionage is informative. Detective Stratton is likable and believable, concerned about things being swept under the rug for "security" reasons, aware of how the game is played, but not necessarily happy about it. Diana Colthorpe, realizing that she has made a mistake in her marriage, takes the job in MI5 to escape an oppressive mother-in-law after her husband's enlistment. She finds her new independence and job exciting, but eventually realizes that the complex layers involved are darker than she imagined.
Originally published as Stratton's War.
Fiction. Historical Mystery. 2008. 447 pages.