This brilliant book tells the story of one of history s most despicable villains and conmen Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, Nazi collaborator and Commissioner for Jewish Affairs , who managed the Vichy government s dirty work, controlling its Jewish population. orn into an established, politically moderate family, Louis Darquier ( de Pellepoix was a later affectation) proceeded from modest beginnings to dissemble his way to power, continually reinventing himself in conformity with an obsession with racial purity and the latent anti-Semitism of the French Catholic Church. He was the ultimate chancer- always broke, always desperate for attention, social cachet, women and drink, he became one of the few men to put on weight during the Second World War , and after it was over he decamped to Spain, never to be brought to justice for having sent thousands of Jews, men, women and children, to the camps. arly on in his career he married the alcoholic Myrtle Jones from Tasmania, equally practised in the arts of fantasy and deception, and together they had a child, Anne Darquier, whom they promptly abandoned to grow up in England under an oppressive mantle of silence. Her tragic sto
Carmen Callil was born and educated in Melbourne, Australia, and came to the UK in 1960. In 1972 she founded Virago and ten years later became Managing Director of Chatto & Windus. In 1994 she was awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Sheffield, York, Oxford Brookes and The Open University. In 1996 she chaired the judging panel of the Booker Prize. She is the author (with Colm Toibin) of The Modern Library- The 200 Best Novels in English since 1950. She lives in London.