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Authors: Emma Tennant,Hilary Bailey

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Hitler's Girls

BOOK: Hitler's Girls
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Adolf Hitler’s secret mistress, a member of the British aristocracy, gives birth to a daughter. The child is whisked away at infancy and raised as an orphan. She is protected from the truth concerning her origins, but that doesn’t prevent the remnants of Hitler’s scattered empire from seeking her out as part of a plot to ignite their dream of re-conquering Europe.

Enter into our drama the starchy, conservative Jean Hastie, an art historian and official for the Scottish National Trust. When her best friend Monica is murdered she is determined to avenge her death and to rescue Monica’s granddaughter, Mel, who is missing and the prime suspect in the crime. She soon finds herself embroiled in the neo-Nazi conspiracy.

In
Hitler’s Girls,
Emma Tennant and Hilary Bailey’s wry, atmospheric prose conjures a whirlwind adventure full of international intrigue, subtle humor, and terrifying, timely political speculation.

EMMA TENNANT is the founder of the groundbreaking magazine
Bananas
. Her first novel,
The Colour of Rain
, was published under a pseudonym. Many books followed, including a series of subversive “sequels” to much-loved classics. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she was awarded an honorary D.Litt. from the University of Aberdeen.

HILARY BAILEY is an editor and writer. A former editor of the innovative science fiction magazine
New Worlds
and a reviewer for
The Guardian,
she is the author of sixteen published novels and a short biography.

ALSO BY EMMA TENNANT

The Colour of Rain

The Time of the Crack

The Last of the Country House Murders

Hotel de Dream

The Bad Sister

Queen of Stones

Black Marina

Two Women of London: The Strange Case of

Ms Jekyll and Mrs Hyde

Faustine

Pemberley

An Unequal Marriage

Elinor and Marianne

The Ballad of Sylvia and Ted

Felony

ALSO BY HILARY BAILEY

Polly Put the Kettle On

Mrs Mulvaney

All the Days of My Life

Hannie Richards

As Time Goes By

A Stranger To Herself

In Search of Love, Money and Revenge

The Cry from Street to Street

Cassandra, Princess of Troy

Frankenstein’s Bride

Miles and Flora

Elizabeth and Lily

Connections

Fifty-First State

© 2013 Emma Tennant and Hilary Bailey

Published by OR Books, New York and London

Visit our website at
www.orbooks.com

First printing 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except brief passages for review purposes.

ISBN 978-1-939293-31-2 paperback

ISBN 978-1-939293-32-9 e-book

Typeset by Lapiz Digital, Chennai, India.

Contents

Editor’s Note

With Nanny & Hitler

Jean Hastie’s Notebook

Jean Hastie’s Diary

Hitler’s Daughter

Notebook

Jim’s Story

Hitler’s Daughter

Notebook

Germany. June 1939

Who Was Monica Stirling?

Peter Müller

Jean Hastie’s Notebook

St Ronan’s 1940

Jean Hastie’s Dairy

Into The Heart

Mel

A Letter from Monica

Jean Hastie’s Diary

Notebook

Jean Hastie’s Diary

Notebook

The Uses of Scent

March 9
th
, Afternoon

Notebook

Diary

Diary

Clemency

Jean Hastie’s Diary

Notebook

Jim’s Story

Peter Müller

Jean Hastie’s Diary

The Disguise of Jean Hastie

Jean Hastie’s Diary

EDITOR’S NOTE

St Ronan’s (the name is changed, to protect the woman who lived and suffered there long enough to expiate the gravest of sins) is an island off the coast of Scotland, in the Western Hebrides.

There is just one house on the island. The house is white, boasts fourteen rooms, and was built circa 1840. On the top story are bow windows. Behind them, day after day of her interminable incarceration, the lone resident of St Ronan’s House looked out to sea. She was awaiting, perhaps, the return of a lover or a child. It would be simple to add that she went mad—or that the storms were particularly Gothic in that part of the ocean near the great rounded hills of the island of Mull.

But it was not so. Curlews and seagulls did, it is true, make their calls. A lone boatman added to the sense of isolation, when he rowed in with provisions—these collected by the housekeeper, Mrs. Nairn. Otherwise, existence was pleasant enough, on St Ronan’s, the sunny aspect of the island being enhanced
by the beaches, which are uniformly covered with minuscule shells so yellow they could be mistaken, from the distant upper windows of the house, for fields of buttercups.

At the time of her disappearance, people on the mainland had long ago ceased expressing their curiosity about the mysterious inhabitant of St Ronan’s. The house, only a sliver visible from the sea, was on occasion pointed out to groups of trippers on seal-watching expeditions in the fishing vessels hired out at Oban. Mrs. Nairn, when she was later to be questioned on the possible identity of the person or persons who assisted her charge to leave the island, avowed there had not been a single visitor to the place since as far back as she could remember.

She—and her mother before her—had been at St Ronan’s since a few months after the outbreak of the Second World War.

The enquiry into the escape—if such is the word—of the lady of St Ronan’s was soon dropped, for lack of evidence. Though it goes without saying that this mythical figure has by now been seen at least as often as Lord Lucan: in Brazil, Bavaria and even, more locally, on the Hebridean island of Barra.

Mrs. Nairn swears she knows nothing. Only her great-nephew Tam, over on the island for a day’s fishing from Mull, insists he saw a very old lady one morning at dawn, walking past his room on the lower floors of St Ronan’s House and making for the broken jetty down by the sea wall.

The old lady may have taken the little boat, barely seaworthy, which has lain all these years up-ended at the top of the beach. She may have tried to row herself, against a ferociously strong spring tide, to the mainland.

Locals point out that someone so arresting in appearance would, in that case, have been noticed and reported at once. Visitors point out that the absence of TV and newspapers at St Ronan’s in the near sixty years since her imprisonment there would have rendered its resident incapable of dealing with the changes in modern life—while those same locals sarcastically pointed out in return that nothing very much had changed on the bare hillsides and in the sparsely furnished crofters’ cottages and bothans since then.

Either way, St Ronan’s House is now empty. Mrs. Nairn is rehoused with her daughter in Peebles. The disappearance of the Lady of St Ronan’s has elevated her to something like the Loch Ness Monster: never actually seen, an object of fantasy, emblem of an evil, prehuman age.

WITH NANNY & HITLER
FRANCE 1936

They told me when the news came that we had just an hour to pack our things. Then Franz would drive us to the station. “Don’t forget the butterfly dress,” Nanny says as we run into the house, “the butterflies say ‘see you next year,’ don’t they Clemmie …? The pretty butterflies say ‘be sure to behave in Germany, and you’ll be back here, all of you.’ Come on Clem, don’t dawdle, what will Liese say if we’re late?”

I can’t say which of all the people gathered to see us off—people I’d hated or loved throughout the holidays—except for Nanny who went ignored, but secretly was the only one at Les Mimosas that I feared and knew I had to obey—was the most likely to stay in my memory once we’d got into the big black car and gone down the coast road in the direction of St Tropez. There was the Duchess, of course. “Look at her shoes!” Nanny said each time we had to go out in the car with the woman who looked like a man, although Hans called him Madame Le Duchesse, and there was Fraulein Baum who took me to the
gooseberry bushes behind the tennis court and told me I was going to meet a very important man when we got to Germany. “He might invite you to Rumpelmayer’s where they have whipped cream as thick as this,” and Fraulein Baum stretched her fingers wide, but all I could think of was a plate of sausages. “The English girls are happy to be invited by Herr Hitler, my new friend Puzi had said, and Clemency, darling, he would love you.”

JEAN HASTIE’S NOTEBOOK

I would not have consented to come to London if it had not been for two factors. My work for the Scottish National Trust keeps me inevitably north of the Border; I last paid a fleeting visit on the occasion of the Hunt Debate (to my relief, I may add, the Trust elected to continue its ban of stag hunting. I have always considered these the most noble of animals). That the second factor in my decision to return south also involves a hunt—but, to my mind, of an infinitely more sinister nature—may give some inkling of the severity of conditions needed to lure me from a comfortable life of semi-retirement in Edinburgh. Plus, I do not hesitate to add, the extraordinary coincidence of discovering that the quarry—the victim—the subject of this outstandingly appalling murder—was none other than my childhood friend, my old companion of holiday and school.

The first information was on TV. I do not watch often, and when I do it is usually to catch the news. I long ago cancelled the meretricious sheets which pass for the newspapers of today.

Two evenings ago, as I settled with my tea in front of the set, I received the horrifying information that the woman, briefly mentioned in a morning bulletin as a “retired social worker”—recipient of upwards of ten stab wounds on the occasion of returning to her home in West London—was Monica Stirling. I recognised the street, Bandesbury Road in Kilburn. I heard, with a grimness that may well be imagined, that the murdered woman’s assailants were “a girl gang.” Worst of all, I ingested the additional news that the dead woman’s daughter had been numbered among the assailants—and was now missing.

A further reason to come south—which, I own, may strike a frivolous note in the company of such a horror as violent death—was the fact that Monica Stirling (whom, it must be said, I have not seen for many years) had replied a couple of months back to my letter of condolence at the death of her elderly mother, aged one hundred, with a request for information on St Ronan’s House, by the island of Mull. I had been working the past six months on committees, forming applications for conservation orders—and, however I may disapprove of the scheme, even going so far as to approach the Lottery Heritage Fund—in order to save the facade and structure of this unusual island house. (St Ronan’s was sold by the Wilsford family last year after the disappearance of the last remaining family member.
The buyer, a Dutch businessman, went bankrupt and the island house, uninhabited as it is, was left to rot.)

BOOK: Hitler's Girls
10.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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