The Red Dancer by Richard Skinner

The Red Dancer

Richard Skinner

I enjoyed the collection of narratives that build up to tell the fictionalised story of Mata Hari's life. Although I thought I would learn more about her, she remains an enigma both to the reader and to the characters in the book who each tell of their involvement with her.

Extract

When I had to give Mata Hari her instructions after she graduated from Lorrach, I realised she was a rather special case because she had already been in contact with many high-ranking military or public figures. I decided that she ought to resume her career as a vaudevillian so that she could be sent to various cities and continue being a courtesan for these men. We arranged many performances for her - Madrid, Milan, Monte Carlo - but mainly Paris, as that was where she was best known. Her situation was ideal. The pre-eminence of these men made it very difficult for the Allies to prove any allegations of Mata Hari's espionage activities.

Parallels
  • Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks
  • The True Life Fiction of Mata Hari by Diane Samuels
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte