America’s greatest spy of WWII was a disabled woman from Baltimore named Virginia Hall.
Hall of Mirrors by Craig Gralley
“A first-rate novel . . . A tremendous read.”
–General David Petraeus, (US Army, Ret.)
“An extraordinary accomplishment . . . A stunner!”
–Peter Earnest, Founding Executive Director, International Spy Museum
Photo courtesy of Lorna Catling
Virginia’s Personal Trials and Recruitment as a Spy
Virginia Hall lost a portion of her left leg in a hunting accident and quit her job with the US State Department after suffering discrimination because of her disability. When Paris fell to the Nazis, Virginia escaped to London.
The British cause seemed lost but Churchill had plans to “set Europe ablaze,” with spies and saboteurs. Virginia was recruited by British Intelligence to become the Allies’ first secret agent to live behind enemy lines in Vichy France.
. . . Betrayal, Escape
Once in-place, Virginia developed an extensive network of spies, led jailbreaks and organized the French resistance, but she was betrayed. As Klaus Barbie (the Gestapo’s “Butcher of Lyon”) closed in, her only avenue of escape was across the snow-capped Pyrenees to freedom in Spain, dragging her artificial limb behind her.
And Virginia Hall’s Heroic Return to France
Despite surviving the harrowing ordeal Virginia demanded to go back. London refused, calling it a suicide mission. The Gestapo’s “Butcher” was still hunting her. But the strong-willed Virginia Hall did go back, this time with America’s new espionage organization, the OSS, on the eve of the D-Day invasion.
Hall of Mirrors, a novel, is written in the voice of Virginia Hall. The book follows the arc of her heroic life and relies on extensive 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:
Read about 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 my Interview with the New York Post
Recent Articles About Virginia Hall
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.
Elan Magazine—Art in the First Person: A Four-Part Series on Virginia Hall
America’s Greatest World War II Spy: Part I
Élan May 2018
Flight Across the Pyrenees: Part 3
Élan July 2018
A Spy to the End: Part 4
Élan August 2018