Shrabani Basu’s book The Spy Princess in paperback now

Journalist-writer Shrabani Basu, whose second book, The Spy Princess, drew particular interest, launched its paperback edition. The Penguin book is a moving biography of Noor Inayat Khan, a secret agent of Indian origin operating in Europe during the Second World War.

The paperback edition was formally launched recently in New Delhi by well-known actor-activist Nafisa Ali. Speaking about Noor’s heroism, Ali said, “Who would dare to do it when you know that death is right next to you.”

The London-based Basu said, “I saw a three line newspaper clipping about this courageous woman and that’s when I decided to write about her.” Noor, a descendant of Tipu Sultan, was the only secret agent of Asian origin. Codenamed Madeleine, she evaded capture by Hitler’s police ingeniously but was finally betrayed and died in a concentration camp. Yet she did not reveal her real identity to her captors till the end. “I did three years of research on her. Real life characters have always fascinated me and therefore, I chose to write about her,” added Basu. The book will soon be turned into a film by veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal.

Having started her writing career with Curry in the Crown, a book that traces the journey of curry to U.K., Basu’s next book is about Abdul, a chef of Indian origin in Queen Victoria’s kitchen. Abdul rose to become her butler and a confidante.