Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War’s Most Notorious Spy Rings

Trevor Barnes. Harper, $28.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-285699-9
In this exhaustive history, journalist and crime novelist Barnes (Taped) documents the discovery, prosecution, and legacy of the Portland Spy Ring in early 1960s England. Drawing on KGB archives and declassified files from the U.K., Barnes details the investigation from its initial stages in February 1960, when an employee at a “highly sensitive naval facility” on the Isle of Portland accused a colleague, Henry Houghton, of removing secret files from the base five years earlier. Surveilling the hard-drinking and free-spending Houghton and his mistress, Ethel Gee, MI5 investigators connected them to a Canadian jukebox salesman named Edward Lonsdale and to Peter and Helen Kroger, married antiquarian booksellers who also claimed to be from Canada. MI5 eventually unmasked Lonsdale as Soviet spy Konon Molody and the Krogers as American Communists Morris and Lona Cohen, and caught the spy ring with information on secret naval research projects and coded messages from Moscow. Barnes dives deep into the investigation and trial, and exposes the espionage careers of Houghton, Molody, and the Cohens before the Portland episode. The extraordinary level of detail slows the pace, but allows for intriguing tangents (notably, the impact of sexism on Cold War espionage). This meticulously researched account informs and entertains. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/31/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-285701-9
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