Spies in Suburbia

The fifth instalment in Mitzi Szereto’s The Best New True Crime Stories is out now. Partners in Crime features my piece, Spies in Suburbia. It is the first time I have written about a true crime set entirely outside the nineteenth century. In many ways the mid twentieth century is as distant from us as Victorian times. I grew up with its legacy as the Cold War, which shaped the lives of Lona and Morris Cohen came to an end. Both were still alive then.

In England the couple are better known as Peter and Helen Kroger. Between 1954 and 1961 they used their house in Ruislip as a base to send secrets to Moscow. Sentenced to jail they were released early in a prisoner exchange and lived the rest of their lives in Russia, with a KGB pension. It is now known that they were involved in giving the Soviets blueprints of the atomic bomb, helping create the nuclear deterrent that underpinned the Cold War.

When writing about this couple I struggled to understand how they posed as ordinary people, fooling their community for so long. The answer lay in the fact that they were ordinary people, who just happened to have a different ideology to those around them.

Paul Williams is a writer of fiction and non-fiction best known for his Jack the Ripper Suspects: The Definitive Guide and Encyclopedia.

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