Christine Granville was “one of the bravest, toughest and strangest secret agents of World War II,” according to a riveting New York Times Book Review account of a biography about her.
She was also possibly the model for Vesper Lynd, the female agent in Ian Fleming’s first James Bond Novel, “Casino Royale.”
“Her hair was very black and she wore it cut square and low on the nape of the neck, framing her face to below the clear and beautiful line of her jaw,” as Fleming describes Lynd in the novel.
When the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, Granville was in South Africa, the wife of a Polish diplomat.
She immediately headed for London, presented herself to the British secret service and offered to ski over the Carpathian Mountains into Poland to take British Propaganda into Nazi-occupied Warsaw.
Not only was she fearless: she was a ravishing beauty who “picked up lovers at astonishing speed.”
A British intelligence report even described how her attractiveness appeared to be causing “some difficulty in Budapest.”
One spurned lover had gone into her flat and threatened to shoot himself in the genital organs–he missed and shot himself in the foot.
Like Vesper Lynd, Granville’s life came to a tragic end having survived the war, when she was stabbed in the heart by an obsessed former lover in the lobby of a London hotel in 1952.