Bloomsbury to Publish MI5 and Me A Coronet Among the Spooks by Charlotte Bingham

‘A Jilly Cooper heroine in a John le Carré world’ (Libby Purves, TLS); a beguiling comic memoir about a young woman who discovers her father is a spy (and was the model for John le Carré’s George Smiley) and goes to work as a secretary in 1950s MI5

Much to her surprise, eighteen-year-old Lottie has just found out that her aloof, rather unexciting father is a spy. And now he’s decreed that she must make herself useful and get a Proper Job – so she’s packed off to MI5 herself, trussed up in a dreary suit. Luckily her delightful colleague Arabella is on hand to enliven the torments of typing and decode the enigmas of office life. But as Lottie’s home fills with actors doubling as spies, and Arabella’s mother is besieged with mysterious telephone calls, the girls start to feel well and truly spooked…

A hilarious true story, and a unique window into 1950s Britain – where Russian agents infiltrate the highest echelons, where debutantes are typists and where Englishness is both a nationality and a code of behaviour – MI5 and Me is a sparkling comic memoir.

  • First published in hardback to wide acclaim, including a serial in the Daily Mail and a major interview with Lynn Barber in the Sunday Times
  • Charlotte Bingham is an internationally bestselling author who has published over thirty novels and two classic, bestselling memoirs, Coronet Among the Weeds and Coronet Among the Grass; her books have sold over 1.3 million copies (TCM). In partnership with her late husband Terence Brady, she has also written a number of successful, plays, films and TV series including Upstairs Downstairs and Take Three Girls
  • A laugh­out­loud memoir in the vein of Nina Stibbe’s Love, Nina, Lynn Barber’s An Education, Brigid Keenan’s Diplomatic Baggage and Monica Dickens’ One Pair of Hands, MI5 and Me sparkles with charm, wit and flair


“An astonishing tale … She still has all the exuberant delight of a teenager in telling stories to make herself and other people laugh. Long may she write”- Lynn Barber

“Imagine a Jilly Cooper heroine in an early John le Carré world … It offers to our over­ anxious age of Putin-dread, Corbynism and cybercrime an enthrallingly nostalgic portrait of a post-war Britain, an idyll where even the security services breathe a kind of sweet innocence”- Times Literary Supplement, Libby Purves

Author Biography

Charlotte Bingham wrote her first book, Coronet Among the Weeds, a memoir of her life as a debutante, at the age of 19. It was published in 1963 and became an instant bestseller. She went on the write a further memoir, Coronet Among the Grass. Her father, John Bingham, the 7th Baron Clanmorris, was a member of M15 where Charlotte Bingham worked as a secretary. He was an inspiration for John le Carré’s character George Smiley.

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