Olga von Marx is an agent with German Intelligence.
When we first meet this beautiful, young fraulein, she is an unemployed woman in much need of a job and seeing a notice in the local Berlin paper which stated, "A lady private secretary required, Must have thorough knowledge of French and English". Since it was in a German newspaper written in German, it was obviously looking for someone with polylingual abilities, something that von Marx possesses.
She tells us straight off how she was the daughter of a German father and English mother born and raised in Berlin. Her father was killed in a duel when she was 'quite young'. Her mother decided to remain in country so it was that the young girl, when she was 17, looked for a career as an opera singer. Her mother did not feel such work was 'respectable' so young Olga had to look elsewhere to earn a living. She knew she was also good at art and did manage to each a nice initial sum for a sketch but apparently that was not bringing in enough so when she saw that advertisement, she took a chance and her life changed completely.
The man posting the ad identified himself as Herr Muller and after an initial interview passed her up the chain being impressed with her. She was not so impressed with Muller though she did not know at the time that he was in fact Prince Otto Hochberg, "one of the greatest scoundrels in Germany" of whom much bad has been printed and who was, she tells us, "one of the dirtiest workers employed in the Secret Service of Germany".
[One interesting note to make here is that the ersatz Muller addresses her as Olga von Kopf and she makes not effort to correct him and acts as though it was correct. And yet, on the next interview she has, one rung up the chain, she is distinctly called Olga von Marx several times and again she has no reaction. This will not be the only time the names of von Kopf and von Marx will alternate.]
The reader is told at the beginning of the first set of adventures that "Olga von Marx, until recently, was Germany's greatest woman spy" Mr. de Halsalle, whose name has become world-famous for his scathing exposures of the Kaiser's secret Service System, met her during his investigations, and as a result of that meeting, her disclosures are now made public. It was with great difficulty that Olga von Marx escaped from Germany with her manuscript, and even after her safe arrival in America, attempts were made by German agents to get the manuscript suppressed."
de Halsalle mentions that he first met von Marx in October of 1909 and was then promised by a laughing young woman who claimed she was "merely a journalist" that someday she would "write a book about German spying" and would send it to him when finished. The two volumes of adventures are said to be those stories.
One major downside to von Marx is that she is very much anti-Jew. She says so opening in the early parts of her story and expounds on it frequently throughout her narrative. She even takes considerable effort at one point far into her dissertation to list the many faults and failings the Jewish people have. She explains her anti-Semitic attitude with a simple, "in my hatred of the Jew I am German".
- Regarding the less than pleasant Herr Muller, "I could see cruelty in his eyes, debauchery in his face, and cunning at the corner of his lips."
- Told by Frau Orloff in the initial meeting, "The work of spying .. is very arduous. It makes the severest call upon the nervous system."
- Frau Orloff's advice while in the employ of the German Secret Service, "You must place your conscience, your ethics, and your heart safely somewhere under lock and key."
- Reasonable advice: "Always treat the spy considerately until he makes an error".
- Regarding the English attitude towards espionage: "She is too superior; she looks upon spying as upon scavenging - a necessary evil, best performed by the riff-raff."