Sunday 22 April 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Sexy Russian spies and Irish passports are no laughing matter

International espionage has a sordid and bloody past, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

YES, I have to admit that my first response to the stories of Russian spies in American suburbia was to smile nostalgically.

Which of us cannot remember the magic of invisible ink (write with lemon juice and the message can't be read until heat is applied)? Enid Blyton's Fatty of the Five Find-Outers was full of such useful lore.

(For those without lemons, here's a trick from 5th-Century BC Greece described by Herodotus: tattoo your secret message onto your slave's shaven head, let the hair grow back, despatch slave to co-conspirator, shave slave's head and, hey presto, there's the magic message.)

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