Stella Rimington joined Britain’s Security Service (MI5) in 1969. During her nearly thirty-year career she worked in all the main fields of the Service’s responsibilities—counter subversion, counter espionage and counter terrorism—and successively became Director of all three branches. Appointed Director General of MI5 in 1992, she was the first woman to hold the post and the first Director General whose name was publicly announced on appointment. Following her retirement from MI5 in 1996, she became a nonexecutive director of Marks & Spencer and published her autobiography, Open Secret, in the United Kingdom. Her novels include At Risk, Secret Asset, Illegal Action, Dead Line, and Rip Tide.
From her interview with Boyd Tonkin at the Independent:
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/himRead the complete Q & A.
Dorothy L Sayers: I really like her characters, particularly Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey. I also enjoy her plots, which are comparatively simple but described in great detail.
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Which fictional character most resembles you?
Harriet Vane, because she's thoughtful and analytical. Things happen to Harriet, but she likes to analyse them rather than reacting in a hysterical way.
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Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
I don't go in much for heroes and heroines – but Winston Churchill, because of his capacity to use words to inspire people. I remember queueing to see his lying-in-state [in 1965]. It was a really important moment for people of my generation.
Learn about the author's answer to the query: How is the MI5 that Liz Carlyle [Rimington's protagonist] joins different from the agency you joined in the late 1960s, particularly for women?.
Also see Stella Rimington's 6 favorite secret agent novels, five best list of books about spies in Britain and a 2009 list of her six best books.