America’s greatest spy of WWII was a disabled woman from Baltimore named Virginia Hall.
Hall of Mirrors by Craig Gralley
A “Best Book of 2020”
“What pervades this novel like a miasma is the sensation of being a spy . . . A fascinating, electric account of a heroic woman.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Fast-paced . . . very satisfying.”
—Historical Novel Society
“Engaging from the first page . . . Gralley makes you feel as though you are in enemy territory . . . Empowering.”
—Independent Book Review (top story)
“A riveting account written with elegant clarity . . . A tremendous read.”
—General David Petraeus, Former Director, CIA
“An extraordinary accomplishment . . . A stunner!”
—Peter Earnest, Founding Executive Director, International Spy Museum
“You understand Dindy (Virginia) better than all the other authors. I’m sure she would have been tickled with Hall of Mirrors.”
—Lorna Catling, Virginia Hall’s Niece
Photo courtesy of Lorna Catling
“Hall of Mirrors” is the little-known story of disabled spy Virginia Hall– the Allies’ first female spy to live behind the lines in WWII France.
Virginia Hall conducted sabotage, jailbreaks and spied on the German military to support the allied cause.
Eventually betrayed, Virginia escaped Gestapo Chief Klaus Barbie, “The Butcher of Lyon,” by dragging her wooden leg for three days and 50 miles over the snow-capped Pyrenees to freedom in Spain.
Wanted posters called her, “the most dangerous allied agent.” A bounty was offered for her arrest. Still, Virginia demanded to return to France.
Despite the dangers– likely capture, torture, and death– Virginia returned to France on the eve of the D-Day invasion . . .
Hall of Mirrors is told in Virginia Hall’s voice–as she would tell her own story. It’s based on the research and insights gained during Craig Gralley’s 30-year career with the CIA.
To see photos and learn more about Virginia’s life of espionage, click here:
Virginia Hall’s Escape Across the Pyrenees Mountains
In the winter of 1942, the Allies’ first female resident spy in France, Virginia Hall, was discovered by Gestapo Chief Klaus Barbie–“The Butcher of Lyon.” Hall’s only avenue of escape was across the rugged Pyrenees mountains. For three days and over 50 miles Hall dragged her prosthetic limb, nicknamed “Cuthbert,” through deep snow and ice. My wife Janet and I discovered Virginia Hall’s Freedom Trail in September 2017 and took this video of the mountains Virginia had to scale to reach freedom in Spain. The video was taken on the Spanish side looking northeast into the town Mantet, in France.
Read about Hall of Mirrors on CNN
Read about Craig Gralley’s Hall of Mirrors in the Washington Post
“She was a legendary spy. He worked for three CIA directors. Now he’s writing a novel in her voice.”
Read Craig Gralley’s Interview with the New York Post
Hall of Mirrors in the McLean Connection
Recent Articles By Craig
AGENT SONYA is the story of Ursula Kuczynski, a daring female spy for the Russians in WWII. Given the codename “Sonya” by her GRU (Russian military intelligence) handlers, Kuczynski skillfully blended her public and clandestine lives, using her domestic roles–sister, wife, mother–to recruit to agents from unlikely places, all the while flying under the radar. Her biggest prize was nuclear scientist Klaus Fuchs, a German Communist Party member and arguably the most important spy of WWII. Macintyre is a master storyteller but it is meticulous research that stands out and brings “Agent Sonya” fully to life.
Sonia Purnell’s biography of Office of Special Operations (OSS) and CIA clandestine officer Virginia Hall, A Woman of No Importance, is by far the clearest, most comprehensive review of Virginia Hall’s life to date. It is a fine exposition but it lacks insight into Hall’s personality, which could be revealed with greater knowledge of espionage and spy tradecraft. Still, the book breaks new ground and deserves to be on the top shelf of intelligence literature.
As a former analyst and writer for CIA, I’ve long been captivated by Virginia Hall’s heroic story. I traveled to France, walked in Virginia’s footsteps, and discovered her escape route over the rugged Pyrenees. My story, “A Climb to Freedom,” was featured in Studies in Intelligence—CIA’s premier journal for intelligence professionals.