Trust was a rare and elusive quality in the shadowy world of espionage that Betty Pack, Allied secret agent, inhabited and yet, paradoxically, it was always in the forefront of every operative’s mind. Deskman, case officer, agent in the field—they all were preoccupied with concerns about whom they could put their faith in, and who might be quietly plotting to betray them. It was not a casual speculation: survival depended on the choices they made.

And the tactic of pretending to love someone in order to win this trust was the “smoke,” as the jargon of her trade put it, that that Betty had used with great success throughout the war. She was a 28-year-old Minnesota native, born of a good family, tall, slim, and patrician, her  sensible amber hair swept off her broad forehead, her emerald green eyes sparkled, her laugh naughty and uninhibited, who as the agent code-named “Cynthia” had time after time had used the bedroom to turn high-ranking Axis diplomats and military officials into traitors.

But now on a blustery afternoon in the second week of March, 1942, as she flew back to Washington from the crash meeting in a New York hotel room with first her British and then her American handlers – Betty was the rare operative who worked for both intelligence services – for the first time in her long operational career she was troubled about what she’d been asked to do.

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