Noreen Riols, née Baxter, was born in Malta to English parents. After the outbreak of World War II, aged only 17 and a fluent French speaker, she was recruited by the F-Section (F for France) of the clandestine British spy agency SOE or Special Operations Executive in London. She was involved in the debriefing of agents and in 1944, worked as a decoy agent whose role was to weed out those who were a security risk because they might talk too much to a pretty girl. After the war, she joined the BBC, where she met her husband Jacques Riols, a French journalist with the World Service with whom she had five children. She became the author of 10 books and numerous newspaper and magazine articles. For several years, she contributed feature stories from her 17th-century house near Versailles to radio and television programs. In 2013, after the lifting of the Official Secrets Act restrictions on World War II files, she published a memoir called The Secret Ministry of Ag. & Fish: My Life in Churchill's School for Spies, a title taken from the name of the place she had told her parents she worked. The book made her a much in-demand speaker, and she was instrumental in organizing a memorial at Valençay to the 104 SOE agents of F Section killed in action.