Partners in Crime is the fifth volume in The Best New True Crime Stories, edited by Mitzi Szereto. It contains my piece on the couple known as Peter and Helen Kroger who acted as spies for the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Writing about this era was a departure from my usual research into earlier periods.
In trying to understand the Krogers I had to understand society and cultures shaped by the atomic bomb. The Krogers were involved in the smuggling of details about the bomb to the Soviets. They then moved across the Atlantic and settled in the United Kingdom, which was undergoing immense change. Surprisingly one of my best sources for that change was a novel by Agatha Christie, published a year after the Krogers were exposed.
The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side describes Christie’s elderly detective, Miss Marple and her cronies reacting to the changes, such as supermarkets and housing developments, in their quiet village. This helped me picture the world in which the Krogers lived. There is another connection too. In 1929 Christie published a collection of short stories called Partners in Crime.