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.


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.

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

Books with similar mood


Andrew O'Hagan

Academy Street

Mary Costello

A Natural

Ross Raisin

In the Falling Snow

Caryl Phillips

The Seven Sisters

Margaret Drabble

A Ship Made of Paper

Scott Spencer

Voice of America

E C Osondu

Derby Day

D J Taylor

Olive Kitteridge

Elizabeth Strout

The Angry Gods

Wendy Brandmark

Black Car Burning

Helen Mort

Undiscovered Country

Christina Koning

Give Us This Day

Jonathan Tulloch

Eve Green

Susan Fletcher

Dream Room

Marcel Moring

Some Prefer Nettles

Junichiro Tanizaki

The Greening of Larry Mahon

Dave Duggan

December Heat

Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

The Broken Places

Susan Perabo

Ancient Promises

Jaishree Misra


Paul Burston


Bruce McCabe


Kent Haruf

No Great Mischief

Alistair MacLeod

The Amateur Marriage

Anne Tyler

In Clara's Hands

Joseph Olshan

Ghost MacIndoe

Jonathan Buckley

The Informer

Akimitsu Takagi

Something Rising (light and swift)

Haven Kimmel


Paule Marshall

The Book of Israel

Jeremy Gavron

Losing It

Jane Asher

Whispers in the Walls

Leone Ross and Yvonne Brisset (eds)

Biography of Desire

Mary Dorcey

Genie and Paul

Natasha Soobramanien

The House on Paradise Street

Sofka Zinovieff

The Cookbook Collector

Allegra Goodman

Twenty-One Locks

Laura Barton

Girls in Trouble

Caroline Leavitt

The Finest Type of English Womanhood

Rachel Heath

Akram's War

Nadim Safdar


Sadie Jones

The Girl who Fell from the Sky

Simon Mawer

UFO in Her Eyes

Xiaolu Guo

The Rights of Desire

Andre Brink


Andrew Miller

The Boy I Love

Marion Husband


Alex Miller

Canvey Island

James Runcie