Villa Mimosa by Jerrard Tickell was first published in 1960 and the story is set mainly in France during World War II where Major Charles Addison is under cover as a watch-maker, using the alias Charles Bertin. When he is asked to mend a watch belonging to a German officer it gives him a chance to look around their headquarters. On his way back to the village he stumbles across a house called the Villa Mimosa and he discovers that it is inhabited by women who are there to serve the German officers.
In his radio report back to London he mentions the existence of the house, suspecting that he should have kept his mouth shut about it and sure enough – he should have because London come up with a crazy plan to send men in to rescue the women, putting the lives of many British soldiers at risk.
Jerrard Tickell was in the army during the war and I suspect that he felt the urge to write this book as he had witnessed many such pointless exercises in his time, dreamt up by those in London sitting safely behind desks and oblivious to the danger that they were putting others in.
I enjoyed it although the whole premise is crazy.
I had thought that I hadn’t read any other books by this author until I had a look at his Wiki and noticed that he wrote the biography of the British agent Odette which was made into a film. I read the book way back in the 1970s after having watched the film.
He also wrote Appointment with Venus and A Day to Remember, both of which were made into films. You can have a look at his Fantastic Fiction page here.