In 1952, British newspapers reported the murder in a South Kensington hotel of a Polish-born woman called Christine Granville. Stabbed to death by a besotted ex-lover by the name of Dennis Muldowney, she had met him the previous year when both were working as cruise ship stewards. Before that she had been a waitress in a Polish café on the Brompton Road. And before that she had been one of the most remarkable secret agents of the Second World War, working covertly in two occupied countries and receiving an OBE, a George Medal and a French Croix de Guerre.
‘Christine Granville’ was a name she had chosen during the war. Born Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek in 1908 into a noble Polish family and to a Jewish mother, she had joined British Intelligence in 1939, having fled to London when Germany invaded Poland. Her first mission saw her return to