THE SPY WENT DANCING by Countess of Romanones Aline
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Sequel to the champagne-filed The Spy Wore Red (1987), in which the Brooklyn-born Countess Aline (nee Griffith) told of her delicious life as a spy for the OSS in Franco's Spain during WW II. Aline was only 20 when recruited by the newly formed, supersecret OSS (the original CIA), trained at ""The Farm"" in Virginia, and sent to Spain to uncover nests of Nazi spies. Now she looks back at two large, interrelated episodes in her spying. In the first she still works as a code clerk in the Oil Mission in Madrid, a cover for her real job: to circulate in the highest social circles and pick up spy stuff on fascist bigwigs for the US (her clothes from Balenciaga are underwritten by the OSS). A mole appears to be tied to shipments of Nazi-looted artworks being sent secretly to Spain for transshipment to South America. However, some of the artworks are parted from the shipments and sold in Madrid through cheap antique shops. Aline locates one big Cd, anne, with a small cairn terrier in its right-hand comer. But the shopkeeper who sold it denies that it ever came from his shop, as does another dealer who has sold a Ming vase to the Argentine embassy. Eventually, Aline finds two crates of Nazi art being stored at her seamstress' apartment; but before she can identify the works or the Nazi spy-nest, the war ends and the OSS in Madrid disbands. Still, she remains as the lone OSS agent in that area. Later, she marries Count Romanones and resigns from the OSS. Leap 20 years: in 1966, she is again recruited by her old boss, to uncover a highly placed NATO mole who is retailing US secrets. What's more, much missing Nazi art loot has surfaced still in Madrid. This time Aline enlists none other than Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, as her ally in pinpointing the NATO mole who will be passing secrets at the fabulous ball being given by Baron Rothschild. Less striking than the original but even posher and frothier, with every elegant detail of dress and dining exactly observed--and with the Duchess of Windsor given the most wit and snap in a colorfully droll cast of spies and socialites.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1989
Publisher: Putnam