Major Farran's Hat, By David Cesarani

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The Independent Culture

This gripping tale of a dark episode from the fag-end of Empire has a piquant pay-off. In 1947, a Jewish teenager with militant Zionist links vanished in Jerusalem, probable victim of a clandestine British policy to terminate their enemies.

Leader of the likely killers, Major Roy Farran, returned to Britain, shone as a war hero – and died, loaded with honours, in 2006. He may have got away with murder; the empire did not.

Cesarani's pacy, edgy history shows that secret hit-squads and undercover cruelties in counter-terror ops helped to sap Britain's moral authority on three continents. Now the main victims come from quite another camp.