WHEN British author David Baird set out to investigate Spain’s Forgotten War, which lasted from the 1940s to the early 1950s, he discovered more — much more — than he expected.
During research for his book about the anti-Franco guerrilla movement, Between Two Fires, he unearthed fascinating details about the secret world of intelligence.
“Back in World War Two, when the Allies seriously considered invading Spain, the scene in the cities of Algiers and Oran resembled that portrayed in the film “Casablanca”. They were hotbeds of spies, racketeers, smugglers, refugees and Spanish exiles planning to launch a guerrilla war in southern Spain,” notes Baird.
“At the same time scores of secret agents of various nationalities, including Germans, British and Americans, were operating within the Iberian peninsula.”
Apart from checking Spanish historical archives, he travelled to Washington to seek relevant material in the National Archives of the USA. There he found confidential memos about the activities of the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA, which secretly trained and armed Spanish exiles so that they could infiltrate the peninsula and report back on the coastal defences.
Baird’s latest book is Don’t Miss The Fiesta!, a chilling tale of passion and vengeance set in the sierras of southern Spain. A man fleeing his scandalous past finds refuge in a remote village only to discover that under the placid surface lurks a nightmare of guilt. He has blundered into an emotional minefield with nasty surprises at every turn.
For Baird, better known for his travel books and his research into recent Spanish history, this is the first work of fiction.
His books have been published in English, Spanish and, most recently, in German. The German edition (title Leben im Pueblo) of his book Sunny Side Up is now on sale (publisher Verlag Winfried Jenior, This relates in humorous, and sometimes poignant, fashion how life in a typical Spanish village changed dramatically when it was catapulted into the 21st century.
***Don’t Miss the Fiesta! and Between Two Fires are published by Maroma Press. They are on sale at English-language bookshops in Spain or via this website.

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