Of course, the bang-for-the-buck ratio is rather low: browsing for 4hrs (with various breaks) and finding just two noteworthy stories is inefficient. But the loot is worth it.
First is the name of Marthe Richard – former French prostitute of German descent turned Parisian municipal politician responsible for introduction of the law (named after her) that made brothels illegal, eliminated National Registry of prostitutes (do I sense a self-interest there?) and limited legality of activities surrounding prostitution.In 1946, in the midst of her campaign, she called French women who slept with Germans “collaborators” and triggered ugly practice of publicly shaving their heads.
Wiki article has some pretty amusing anecdotes about her, including engagement in early female aviation (her fraudulent claim to beating the record “for the Le Crotoy–Zurich trip. She actually only flew the plane to Burgundy, whence it was shipped by train to the Zurich countryside, and flew it into Zurich. However, the new record was approved”.)
Of her two husbands – pretty interesting people themselves, her “Russian anarchist lover” who recruited her for espionage during WWI, her spy work in Spain where she collected information off her hi-profile sex partners.
After the war her former handler wrote a fiction book about their activities – and she successfully grabbed half of the royalties despite not writing a word. Then she wrote her own book, “My life as a spy in the French service (adapted as a film in 1937) and instantly became a heroine of France. Under media pressure, her lover Édouard Herriot, French Prime Minister at the time(!Oh-lala!-ETAt), gave the widowed Mme Crompton the Légion d’honneur for Foreign Affairs.”
Russian sources add piquant details: that she was not an ordinary spy a la Mata Hari, but a double agent for the French as well as Germans. That in San Sebastian her German lover presented her with a mansion and money to start hairstyling salon which she used for her info-gathering. Another connection was a nephew of general Ludendorff. There was, of course, also an exotic Russian “communist” (who was, in fact, a Georgian, and a double agent himself) – and once all three got injured in a car accident together.
Another name is plain-sounding John Dee, the original Agent 007 – born in 1527! He was nothing plain himself – a mathematician, alchemist, scientist who was a Cabbalah adviser to Elizabeth I and outlived 5 Royals, dying at 93 a poor man, stripped of his priceless library, his magic crystal and his Obsidian mirror…