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Secrets and Lies

The Trials of Christine Keeler
Narrated by: Sophie Cookson
Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins

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Publisher's Summary

The sensational true story behind the major TV drama series The Trial of Christine Keeler, performed by Sophie Cookson.

In her own words, the life of the beautiful young model and dancer who helped to bring down the Tory government of Harold Macmillan - the 'Profumo Affair' remains the greatest political sex scandal in recent British history.

Having found fame and success as a model, Christine's short affair with the minister for war, John Profumo, led to his downfall at the end of Harold Macmillan's Conservative government and was at the heart of the social and political earthquake that followed. She became the subject of scandal, intrigue and gossip and was tried for perjury and briefly jailed following the death of Stephen Ward, the socialite who had introduced her to Profumo.

Following Christine Keeler's death in December 2017, her book has been updated to include revelations that she did not wish to be published in her lifetime. The result is an audiobook containing material that has never been officially released, which really does lift the lid on just how far the Establishment will go to protect its own.

©2019 Douglas Thompson and Christine Keeler (P)2019 Bonnier Books UK

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  • Adanaya
  • 01-02-20

Riddle me riddle me riddle me ree

In a story like this, you can chhose your side of the fence or sit on it. I'm choosing a side and it's Miss Keeler's.Her story rings true to me, and as someone who came very close to becoming the Christine Keeler of the eighties, it was the story of what had happened to her that saved me. I came to a crossroad, and took a sharp right, but I saw the seedy side of London society and it didn't seem to have changed too much. I was a secretary to a wealthy club owner, but kept outside the gates instead of walking through, turning down endless offers of flats, cars, trips to exotic locations, until it became far too tough to keep on saying variations on a theme of 'flattered but no'. No names, most of them are dead anyway. Measuring what didn't happen to me against what did happen to Christine, I'd have no hesitation in saying that she was groomed, used and abused. Would it happen now? Re-cast with available characters and yes. Maybe not bringing down a government, but that young girls are dazzled by rank and money? Yes. Should they know better? How? I found this account painfully convincing and I'd recommend it to anyone. And if a Belgium arms dealer or American property developer asks you to go to Wai kiki beach, or a Park Lane Hotel, say no.. It's a dark and destructive road to walk, run or drive down. Thank you Christine.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Adele
  • 13-09-19

Very disappointed

Was looking forward to this but felt it lacked all credibility. I find it hard to believe that Keeler either kept a detailed diary or had a photographic memory. Soviet agents would surely be caught if their tradecraft was as bad as portrayed. Too much ghostwriter?

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Graham G Grant
  • 24-02-20

Lies and spies in Swinging London

The recent BBC drama series on the Profumo Affair starred Sophie Cookson as Christine Keeler, and in this audiobook Cookson narrates Keeler's memoir. It provides much more background detail on Keeler's belief that Stephen Ward, her one-time alleged pimp, was in fact a Soviet spy, though probably closer to a double agent, who ran a network of young women with the aim of luring targets into honey-traps to compromise them, and to extract secrets from them. Society osteopath Ward was probably scapegoated by the Establishment - convicted on dubious charges of living off "immoral earnings" as a kind of high society pimp, and killing himself before the conclusion of his trial. But Keeler paints an even darker picture. She felt Ward used her for espionage (she delivered secrets to the Russian Embassy, though claims she didn't know what was in the envelope). She says Ward attempted to murder her. And she believed his case was a miscarriage of justice - not that Ward was convicted, but that he was convicted of pimping and not spying. There's an understandable bitterness that runs through the book, as Keeler ends up living in a rough London housing estate called "World's End" with her son Seymour. She loses her dinner-lady job after the headteacher discovers who she is. Keeler spent a lifetime in the shadow of a scandal often credited with bringing down a Conservative government (though ironically Keeler was a lifelong Tory voter!), and became an expert on the background, reading up on the key figures. This book appears to rest largely on Keeler "filling in the blanks" - she heard and saw a lot living with Ward, but at the time might have been in the dark about the significance of the people he spent time with. How much of the book is based on subsequent study is difficult to know, but most of it seemed plausible. She educated herself in the years that followed, even getting hold of old FBI files on her (now online). It's the remarkably destructive effect that the Profumo Affair had on the lives of just about everyone involved - and the secrecy that still surrounds it - which continue to fascinate. The narration can be a bit grating - Cookson uses the "little girl lost" accent from the TV series - and by the end I was starting to lose sympathy a little for Keeler, and to wonder if she was quite as naive as she'd always maintained. But it does provide a great picture of what was going on behind closed doors and in exclusive clubs in London in the 1960s, and as Keeler's memoir it is unmissable for anyone with an interest in the greatest sex scandal in British political history.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Angelcritique
  • 19-02-20

More evil at every turn

Yet more evil at every turn. Christine lived it. She participated in it. She suffered for it. I would rather believe her account of the events in question than those in recent publications which try to whitewash the character of Stephen Ward. What a mess. Well written and well narrated. I listened in segments. I found it all too much for one hearing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Allen
  • 08-02-20

The truth at last?

We finally have the facts from the main protagonist in the 'Profumo Affair '. Although we can't guarantee the accuracy it certainly sheds logical light on the events of the time. Sadly, due to the total mistrust I, and most others, have in the 'establishment', this definitely seems to be the most likely course of events and I'm pleased she had the urge and chance to air it before she passed away. Narration was excellent!!

1 person found this helpful