Islington woman writes novel about her mother’s racy past

WHEN Merilyn Moos began digging into her parents’ past she did not know what the search might throw up.

But she did not expect to find MI5 files revealing her mother had a secret affair with a Russian spy in the 1930s. Now she has written a detective novel based on her startling real-life discovery.

She said: “I was inspired to write the book because I was keeping a diary of my discoveries, and I started to think this was really an amazing story.”

Merilyn, 66, of Cressida Road, Archway, was brought up in Oxford by her German refugee parents Siegi and Lotte, who had fled their country after the 1933 Reichstag fire. She said her parents never spoke much about their background, only telling her that they had been anti-Nazis. It was only through her digging that she discovered their Jewish backgrounds, and that many of their family members who were left behind ended up being killed. She said: “When I was in my 50s I started to get curious. I first started to research my father. I approached MI5 because I assumed they would have kept track of refugees in Britain who had been political.

“What I discovered was that most of the files were about my mother.”

Merilyn, who has lived in Islington since 1965, studied philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford, before becoming a lecturer in sociology.

Before retiring last year, she had been teaching at the London Metropolitan University for 15 years, working out of the Islington campuses in Holloway Road, Holloway, and Highbury Grove, Highbury.

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The Language of Silence is her first novel. She said: “The book is about being the child of people who had fled the Nazis and had been traumatised by the Nazis and the loss of their families. It’s a book about what it’s like to be brought up in that sort of family, as I was.”

“I wrote a novel rather than a memoir because it allowed me to include things that never happened – it allowed me to sex up the story.”

Now she is retired, Merilyn has more time to write. She added: “I love writing and I’m good at it!” – TOM MARSHALL

l The Language of Silence is available from Cressida Press.