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Hardcover Signed, Mata Hari Book

ISBN: 031611264X

ISBN13: 9780316112642

Signed, Mata Hari

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

In the cold October of 1917 Margaretha Zelle, better known as Mata Hari, sits in a prison cell inParis awaiting trial on charges of espionage. The penalty is death by firing squad. As she waits, burdened by a secret guilt, Mata Hari tells stories, Scheherazade-like, to buy back her life from her interrogators. From a bleak childhood in the Netherlands, through a loveless marriage to a Dutch naval officer, Margaretha is transported to the forbidden...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

My God this was brilliant!

Don't miss out on this book. Wonderful. I will now devour everything I can from this author. Brilliant.


This is a beautifully rendered portrait of the life of the woman who called herself Mata Hari, undoubtedly one of the most famous but one of the least known about women in modern history. Her name appears in songs and movie titles. She was even the subject of a failed Broadway musical yet we really know very little about her. In elegant, graceful prose, Ms. Murphy tells us the ambiguous story of this complicated, illusive woman with compassion and radiant intelligence. The approach is kalaidoscopic. The author moves effortlessly from being the first person voice of her cental character to a third person observer, perhaps the author herself. From Mata Hari's tragic marriage right up to the final moment in front of a firing squad, there is never a false note or a misplaced moment. The result is a moving, delicate and ultimately very personal work and one that I very much admired.

A fascinating novel about a woman who has become an icon

I really enjoyed this imagined life of the famous spy Mata Hari; her life in Java is beautifully realized, and even the bleakness of her imprisonment and execution are well rendered. EyeWitnesstoHistory has a chilling report of her execution, written by an eyewitness, Henry Wales. A few lines from his dispatch: "Never once had the iron will of the beautiful woman failed her. Father Arbaux, accompanied by two sisters of charity, Captain Bouchardon, and Maitre Clunet, her lawyer, entered her cell, where she was still sleeping - a calm, untroubled sleep, it was remarked by the turnkeys and trusties. The sisters gently shook her. She arose and was told that her hour had come. 'May I write two letters?' was all she asked. Consent was given immediately by Captain Bouchardon, and pen, ink, paper, and envelopes were given to her. She seated herself at the edge of the bed and wrote the letters with feverish haste. She handed them over to the custody of her lawyer. Then she drew on her stockings, black, silken, filmy things, grotesque in the circumstances. She placed her high-heeled slippers on her feet and tied the silken ribbons over her insteps. She arose and took the long black velvet cloak, edged around the bottom with fur and with a huge square fur collar hanging down the back, from a hook over the head of her bed. She placed this cloak over the heavy silk kimono which she had been wearing over her nightdress. Her wealth of black hair was still coiled about her head in braids. She put on a large, flapping black felt hat with a black silk ribbon and bow. Slowly and indifferently, it seemed, she pulled on a pair of black kid gloves. Then she said calmly: 'I am ready.'" ***** As Father Arbaux spoke with the condemned woman, a French officer approached, carrying a white cloth. 'The blindfold,' he whispered to the nuns who stood there and handed it to them. 'Must I wear that?' asked Mata Hari, turning to her lawyer, as her eyes glimpsed the blindfold. Maitre Clunet turned interrogatively to the French officer. 'If Madame prefers not, it makes no difference,' replied the officer, hurriedly turning away. Mata Hari was not bound and she was not blindfolded. She stood gazing steadfastly at her executioners, when the priest, the nuns, and her lawyer stepped away from her. *** Robert C. Ross 2007 2008

Beautifully written novel about a female spy

Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (12/07) Mata Hari was one of the most well-known exotic dancers of all times, yet her true fame came after the accusations that she was spying for Germans during the First World War. A fascinating person in real life, she takes on added dimensions in the beautifully written novel "Signed, Mata Hari" by Yannick Murphy. This exquisite novel portrays Mata Hari as a daughter, a lover, a wife, a friend, a mother and more, but first and foremost as a woman. The novel's setting is a jail in Paris, France; that's where Mata Hari awaits her trial. Charge: spying. Penalty: death by a firing squad, if found guilty. While in prison, Mata Hari tells stories and writes letters to her estranged daughter, Non. It is through those stories, letters and conversations with a nun, Sister Leonide, that we get acquainted with Mata Hari, whose real name was Margaretha Zelle. From the lean years of her youth and the exotic, if not exactly happy years as a young wife of a Dutch naval officer, living in Java - and to her years as a famous performer with invented and wondrously embroidered past, associating with many men from different sides, Mata Hari is revealed as an intricately complex personality, perennially searching for happiness and fulfillment. The novel does not provide an answer to the oftentimes asked question about her guilt, but it reveals a secret that Mata Hari carried hidden for many years and which could have sparked some of the events that sent her on the downwards spiral that ended with her execution. I read "Signed, Mata Hari" in one sitting. I picked it up to relax and escape for a couple of minutes, but there was no way to put it down. Ms. Murphy created a series of very complex characters in a setting that immediately draw me in. Her writing is magical - once she draws you within, the tangled web keeps you safely inside. Engaging story, lush descriptions, emotionally charged content - overall a fantastic read.

Fascinating story line

I am enjoying the book, Signed Mata Hari. I find the character descriptions to be so in-depth and fascinating, that its hard to put the book down. Always an enjoyable read, Yannick Murphy shares a different side to her characters, whether they be fiction or nonfiction. The reader joins the writer on an adventure back and forth through time and has a new journey in each chapter.

Signed, Mata Hari Mentions in Our Blog

Signed, Mata Hari in 7 Super Spies
7 Super Spies
Published by Hugo Munday • November 02, 2015

The latest in the James Bond movie franchise is released this month and I'll go. It's not a book by Ian Fleming, most of the ideals of the movie are outdated and corny, but out of allegiance to my childhood, I'll go.

This week you can use the code ASTON at Thrift Books to get a 15% discount on books in the Spy Stories and Tales of Intrigue genre, so that got me digging up a lot that wasn't related to James Bond. Much of it would make, or even has made, block-buster movie scripts and so it follows that we have some good books too. Starting with the interesting and working up to mind-blowing...

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