Monday, January 24, 2011
Read by John Lee
If you like spy thrillers give this one a try it's a keeper!
Operation Mincemeat is the story of a little known British subterfuge leading up to the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943. The story was told incompletely in the 1950s book The Man Who Never Was. The British Naval Intelligence service invents the identity of a naval officer and releases his dead body loaded with intelligence papers off the coast of neutral Spain in 1943. The entire ruse comes from the minds of a group of British novelists who are serving officers in the intelligence service. All of the creative detail that makes this trick so successful comes from these literary minds. The most recognizable name involved is Ian Fleming but there are several other writers serving in this unit and participating in this operation.
The story reads like the best international spy thrillers. The Brits make up a complete back-story for the dead body complete with family and fiancée. Securing a dead body and preparing it for use in a way that will fool the Nazis is key to the ruse and is more luck than skill in this operation. The papers the dead officer will carry are prepared at the highest levels of the Allied war command with Eisenhower, Churchill and Montgomery giving input on what should be in them. The body is transported clandestinely by submarine and carefully released off the Spanish coast and almost immediately recovered. A tense week ensues as the Spanish Fascists attempt to recover the papers. They succeed and the papers are soon in German hands. The Germans fall for the deception hook, line and sinker moving troops away from Sicily and to the decoy target Greece. The author has access to many official papers in both the British and German governments that allow for a telling that is very complete at each step along the way.
The audio book I listened to was read by John Lee and he was marvelous! He was able to switch between English, German, Spanish, American and French accents effortlessly and in my opinion really added to the pleasure of listening to this story. If you like spy thrillers give this one a try it’s a keeper!
I listened to this story on AudioCDs borrowed from The Free Library of Philadelphia.