Ben Macintyre is a brilliant storyteller – and this is a brilliant story.
The story is a relatively simple one: With an Allied invasion of Sicily imminent in 1943, the British decided to deceive the Germans as to the location of the landing, trying to convince them that the troops would be landing in Sardinia and Greece. To achieve this, they created some fake documents, put them into a briefcase tied to a corpse, and floated that ashore in Spain. Local German spies eventually saw the papers, believed them to be true, and spread the word. A considerable number of German troops were diverted away from Sicily, helping to ensure the success of that operation.
What Macintyre has done is to go into this story in forensic detail — turning it into a real page-turner, creating memorable characters and including much humour as well. No wonder this story was turned into a musical comedy in London in 2022.