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Read Me Deadly: "Rather than focus on the techniques of espionage agents, Rooney delves into those questions of psychology and motivation."

Date: May 27 2014

Jennie Rooney's Red Joan (Europa Editions/Penguin Group (USA), July 1, 2014) is fiction, but inspired by the Melita Norwood story. Frankly, Mrs. Norwood seems to have been a deadly dull woman, so fiction was definitely the way to go. Rooney's Joan Stanley is a loving mother and grandmother, with typical middle-class hobbies like art and ballroom dancing, until the afternoon that MI-5 comes to question her. Rather than focus on the techniques of espionage agents, Rooney delves into those questions of psychology and motivation. Going back from her current interrogation to her recruitment as a spy when she was a young woman, Joan's motivations are gradually unveiled.