Another work by Paulo Coelho that details a murder mystery and narrates the whole story of an exotic dancer notorious for luring military officers when she gets killed.



PAGES – 188


Margaretha Geertruida Zelle or better known by her stage name Mata Hari, a Dutch exotic dancer is executed by French firing squad on 15 October, 1917 on charges of Espionage. Her popularity and seduction ability to lure high ranking military officers arouses suspicion that Zelle might working as a German spy. With no clear sets of evidence proving her guilt, the case of Mata Hari is believed to be an execution to hide the failures of French Military that was losing the battle to Germany.

The Spy Image

In the book The Spy, bestselling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho gives Mata Hari a strong voice to narrate the sequence of events that led to her capture and subsequent execution with details of her personal life, resurrecting a case that was forgotten and buried along with other atrocities of the Great War.

In the book Mata Hari tells that if that if the future generations will remember her, May it never see her as a victim, but as someone who moved forward with courage fearlessly paying the price it had to pay.


Whenever the case of a real person is presented in a book it becomes the foremost responsibility of the author to stick to the true sequence of events and not shy away from reality so as to emotionally connect with the readers on the points you personally believe in and in this book Coelho has shown his experience by not over exaggerating the facts.

The text is simple, clear and highly readable, part of it can be attributed to the fact that the book mostly contains facts or construction based on facts.

The voice given to the narrator (Mata Hari) undoubtedly depends on the choice of words and expressions used to highlight the narrator’s emotions in different stages of the book, which is indeed worked out by the author in a refined way and thus the being readable is also well polished.

The case of Mata Hari presented in the book takes the readers back in time makes us wonder whether she was really guilty or just a woman born in the wrong time.

Mata Hari is depicted as a woman who dared to break through the shackles of a reserved society and speak for herself and live life of freedom with no boundaries, giving the message that women should not only reserve their role as units of family organization but rather break out and use their abilities to live a life of value and an existence of which they are proud of.


The book gives light to the case of Mata Hari and unfolds her entire life –personal and professional in front of us. Paulo Coelho has certainly done a great job as far as the book is concerned by showing her life and emotions through her own eyes.

RATING – 3.5/5


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