- Education and Science
Princess Grace Kelly and the Case of the Secret Spy Papers
Tales From the History Detective
When I was young, I used to like to read the Hardy Boys Mysteries and when I read all of mine, I have to admit I did sneak my Sister's Nancy Drew Mysteries to read.
I used to love to find the clues and try to figure out the mysteries on my own. My Sister and I played "Clue" and I got pretty good at finding that Mr. Mustard did it in the kitchen with the lead pipe.
History has always intrigued me and like Paul Harvey would say, I love "The Rest of the Story" and dig deeper into the lives that revolved around the things that occurred. Not only do I love the actual stories, I like the ties to the stories.
Because of all of this, I am a self-proclaimed History Detective. Although the PBS series came out, I have been doing it a long time myself and with the internet, the sky is the limit as far as research is concerned.
Travel with me on some of my more famous exploits as the gumshoe of collectibles. You may even have a little fun along the way! These stories have connection to spies, espionage, Princess Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Vice President Adlai Stephenson, the King of Morocco and James Bond. What could they have in common with me? Read on to find out!
Thank for stopping by, kid. Now, sit down, put your feet up, light up a cigar and let me tell you my story.
Film Noir Dark Jazz Detective Music - Play this great soundtrack while you browse!
Amazon Spotlight Personal Review
If you love music from this era, especially Film Noir-related, you will love this album. This album is not in the French language, it is just a compilation of this type of music from France.
A wonderful soundtrack for a dark and stormy night. Very relaxing while sipping on a glass of wine.
The History Detective - A Legend in My Own Mind
Keep the lights down low and don't let others know we are here. This isn't Film Noir, but we want to keep it dark so it appears to be black and white. No smoking is allowed indoors, so we will turn on the fog machine.
I am a collector; I have been so for years. In my love of just about everything, I love to do research about the item. I guess that's why I call myself the "History Detective."
Everything has a story. When I was little, they used to say, "Wow, if only that thing could talk." Well, I try to give the item voice. You would be surprised what you can find.
I used to do research in libraries and in books. Today, it is much easier with the internet. You can find out anything out just about anything!
Search engines such as Google will give you a good start but Google does not index everything on the internet. For example, you can find a general reference and then once you open that reference, you can find further information. For example; you might find a name of Albert Smith on the internet and it points to Ancestry.com. Once you open Ancestry.com, you can trace Albert to different places; possibly find out where they worked and others that were related to him.
Wouldn't it be interesting if Albert was tied to a famous person? That happened to me in one of my searches. I found an old photo at a junk store that had a name on the back. When I put that person in the search engines, I found he was the Nephew of Wyatt Earp. Well, other than being an old interesting photo, that information ended up helping me fill in a story and sell the item for a higher price. I had no interest in keeping it.
I have found ties to many items using research. This website will highlight one of my investigations that is related to Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco and spy activity!
I attend many estate auctions here in Phoenix, Arizona and these stories are based on finds that I purchase and then research. These are all true stories.
I hope you enjoy this and I encourage that you write your own stories and share them in the Guestbook..
"This is the wonderful thing about espionage, nothing exists any more."
Sir William Stephenson
"Betty" and Sir William Stephenson
The Original James Bond
In 2011, I purchased two lots from an estate auction. I knew nothing about these auctions other than during a preview, I found several interesting looking photos.
What caught my eye were the numerous items that seemed to have Prince Grace of Monaco, formerly known as actress Grace Kelly.
One of the lots had numerous piles of papers and I started investigating these items and the ties to them. Since I did not know who consigned them or where they actually came from, I had to use the evidence that was in the lot.
In this first lot, there were numerous items. One of these was a 1966 magazine photo of Princess Grace during her wedding. What was interesting was the writing on the top and sides of the photo. In vintage fountain pen, it described the Princess dress and the decorations.
Looking further through the clippings and photos, I noticed that there was a note that described two photographs in the lot. The note stated:
"One picture is Betty and her dear friend Adlai "Stephenson" (misspelled) with the King of Morocco in Morocco a couple of years ago. Plus an old view of Betty's House in Madrid. One a publicity picture taken for her book publishers (untouched). The other an aerial view of the farm taken 3 yrs. Ago. "(This photo was not in the lot).
I deducted that this note was sent to a fan or friend who sent the photos to "Betty" to have her point herself out. "Betty," in turn, sent them all back annotated and also sent other items to the fan or friend that you will see later.
Mysterious Note Mentioning "Betty"
Who was this mysterious "Betty" that knew the King of Morocco? I found that Adlai Stevenson was a former Governor of Illinois and also was the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1952 and 1956 and was defeated both times by Dwight Eisenhower. Looking him up, the photo matched! That was him! A little more research showed that Stevenson was defeated in 1952 and then took a trip to Asia, the Middle East and Europe while writing about his travels in Look Magazine.
Now "Betty" had been seen with a King and a former and future Presidential Candidate. Who was she?
"Betty" With the King of Morocco and Adlai Stevenson
Further searching through the lot brought me to another photo of the wedding of Princess Grace and there was an arrow drawn on pointing to a lady at the wedding and it says, "the only photo I can find of myself."
My conclusion is that "Betty" was at the wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainer of Monaco and that these photos were sent to a friend or fan by "Betty." But I still didn't know who she was.
"Betty" at the Wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainer (Look for arrow to her in the far back of room)
A Christmas card in the lot of papers was from Mary and Bill and at the bottom, the printing said Sir William and Lady Stephenson. Research of Sir William Stephenson found that he was a soldier, pilot, spy, inventor and businessman. During World War I, he was a soldier who was gassed and ended up becoming a pilot. Because of his heroism and service, he earned the Military Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross.
During World War II, Stephenson had become the Senior Representative For British Intelligence in the whole Western Hemisphere.
Stephenson is said to have been the inspiration for James Bond.
What had I stumbled onto and who was "Betty?" I still did not know. Read the next story to find out!
Christmas Card from William Stephenson - The Spy Who was Thought to be the Basis For James Bond
"We were trained to live by our wits, in any circumstance."
Sir William Stephenson
This drink is a darker and more full tasting version of a Screwdriver and is very hearty and refreshing.
- Prep time: 2 min
- Ready in: 2 min
- Yields: One
- One Part Dark Rum
- One Part Vodka
- One Part Orange Juice
- Mix the three ingredients and pour over ice into a Highball glass.
Mr. and Mrs. Ricardo Sicre
We found Waldo, Who's Betty?
The next lot of items purchase at the estate auction contained several Christmas Cards from Princess Grace and Prince Rainer and one original candid actual photograph of her. What was interesting is that some of these were signed by Princess Grace and Prince Rainer.
These cards are very rare and the Prince and Princess only sent these to people that they knew very closely. There was an original letter cover sent to Mr et. Mrs. Ricardo Sicre in Madrid, Spain in the hand of Princess Grace of Monaco. Who were the "Sicre's?"
A little research showed that Ricardo Sicre was also known as Richard Sickler. He was from Spain and had fought in the Spanish Civil War against Francisco Franco, a Spanish Dictator. Sickler ended up escaping to London, England.
Envelope Cover from Princess Grace to Mr. and Mrs. Ricardo Sicre
Another note from the friend or fan was in the lot that said, "Forgot to ask Betty what was so important that Frankie had to say it had to be delivered by hand. Probably trying to find Ava." This note was in reference to a hand written card that says "By Hand" on it and sent to a "Betty Sicre."
I looked up Betty Sicre and it turns out that her name was Betty Lussier who married Spanish, turned British espionage agent Ricardo Sicre. Betty, herself, was good friends with Ava Gardner so the note and envelope were in reference to Frank Sinatra and Ava, who were married at the time. Betty and Ava did everything together including bicycling. Betty was also good friends with Grace Kelly and these photos were of her at the wedding.
Envelope from Frank Sinatra (in his hand) to "Betty"
Betty Lussier began her life as a pilot and although she was not allowed to be a combat pilot, she flew secret messages. Through her Godfather, Sir William Stephenson (outlined above), she was recommended to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) as a counterespionage agent.
Betty was another spy! Not only did these two lots have information from a spy, it had data and important papers from three different spies! I was amazed at these chance finds being sold as boxes of papers.
Betty became what was known as an "Ultra" Agent and there are enough stories of her exploits for several books, some of which she has written. One is available below. Some of the stories are not for the meek at heart and includes stories worthy of any movie. One was of a German Double Agent who was transmitting secret messages to the Germans and was captured by Betty and Ricardo.
Her complete story is at the link below and she has also written a book entitled "The Intrepid Woman" which you can purchase from Amazon below.
I have kept both of the lots I found and have determined that they are not separate but one lot of really interesting historical material.
"It's wonderful seeing all the young women who are flying now,' Lussier says. 'They don't know how lucky they are to be flying in combat. Some of us would have died for that opportunity."
Intrepid Woman: Betty Lussier's Memoirs During World War II
This woman is absolutely amazing. If you thought that Forrest Gump had a full life, you should read this book. It is full of spies and intrigue.
This website only outlines her life through a few of her exploits. When you read this book, it will tie all of those stories together.
This is not a boring read and it is highly recommended!
Historical Films and Film Noir Poll
Do You Enjoy Historical Films or Film Noir?
The Life of Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly's life was not all glitz and glamor. This book outlines not only her life as an actress, it also shows her transition to a Princess, what ever little girl wants to be.
Along with the information from this website, she had a secret life also.
Great content and photos. Some consider Grace Kelly the prettiest woman who ever lived; buy this book and find out.
"I would like to be remembered as someone who accomplished useful deeds, and who was a kind and loving person. I would like to leave the memory of a human being with a correct attitude and who did her best to help others."
Princess Grace Kelly
The History Detectives Show From PBS - The Highlight Reel from Season Seven
The PBS History Detective Series on DVD - Fantastic Show, All About Me (In my dreams)
Spies Love Hungarian Goulash - Make it in the crockpot!
Dark and easy goulash recipe. Good for those dark and stormy nights while on stakeout in the Eastern Bloc.
- Prep time: 15 min
- Cook time: 8 hours 45 min
- Ready in: 9 hours
- Yields: Six
- (2) Pounds of stew beef - cut into cubes
- (1) Large onion - Slice it up under running water (There's no crying in spying)
- Approximately (1) clove of minced garlic - I used garlic in a jar
- (1/2) Cup of catsup
- (2) Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
- (1) Tbsp of brown sugar.
- (2) Tsp of salt
- (2) Tsp of paprika
- (1/2) Tsp of mustard
- Pinch of pepper
- (3/4) Cup of water
- (1/4) cup flour
- Put the beef chunks in the bottom of the crockpot
- Cover the beef with the onion slices.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (except flour) in and then pour in the water and mix.
- Cover the crockpot and then set to the LOW Setting approximately 9 hours
- Go to work at the riverside, hide behind the trees and don't forget to bring your binoculars.
- Get back home, don't track mud on Grandma's carpet.
- Turn the control to HIGH on the crockpot.
- Take the flour and mix it with a small amount of water - Stir into the mixture.
- Keep crockpot on HIGH until the whole mixture starts to thicken - About 25 minutes
- Serve the Goulash over your favorite noodle or rice. If you are in Spain, use Spanish Rice!