The spy who loved married women
DAHL was posted to Washington and New York as an air attache in 1942, tasked with obtaining information for British intelligence. Tall, handsome and a former fighter ace, he quickly made friends with the rich and influential and was regularly invited to the White House.
Dahl soon found that the wives of powerful men felt neglected and could be persuaded to disclose valuable titbits if they were given enough of the right kind of attention.
Antoinette Haskell, the daughter of Texan oil baron Charles Marsh, said ‘he [Dahl] slept with everybody on the East and West coasts that had more than $50,000 a year’.
One was Evalyn Walsh McLean, a glamorous widow whom he described as ‘fantastic and rather stupid’. She flirted with him to his great amusement.
Dahl, who stood 6ft 6in, wrote to his mother: ‘I can’t help looking down and seeing the closely guarded secret of her finely shaped bosoms. She has enormous pads stuffed into her shirt front. The effect is very good to anyone under 6ft 5in.’
Dahl was notably distracted by another useful contact, Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce, whose husband owned Time and Life magazines.
Dahl’s appetite for this ‘assignment’ began to wane, however, and one morning he announced to his boss that he was ‘all f ***** out’ because Mrs Luce ‘had screwed him from one end of the room to the other for three goddamn nights’.
When he returned to Buckinghamshire after the war, he took his nephews’ nanny ‘sightseeing’ in London… although she returned telling everyone about the size of the baths at the Savoy Hotel.