London: He is best known as an author of chaste children`s books but Roald Dahl was a secret service agent with a "whole stable" of women and a license to kill, a la James Bond, claims a new book.
The British author slept with countless high society women while gathering intelligence in the US in the 1940`s, says Donald Sturcock in his new book `Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl`.
Dahl`s life as a young, handsome and dashing RAF officer in the early 1940s is recreated in the book through interviews with many associates and lovers, reported The Telegraph online.
Antoinette Haskell, a wealthy friend of Dahl`s who looked up to him as a brother even though he was "drop dead gorgeous", said the `Charlie And The Chocolate Factory` author was a relentless womaniser.
"He was very arrogant with his women, but he got away with it. The uniform didn`t hurt one bit and he was an ace pilot. I think he slept with everybody on the east and west coasts that had more than USD 50,000 a year," Haskell is quoted as saying in the book.
Dahl had fought as a fighter pilot earlier in the war, until injuries grounded him. He then worked for a secret service network based in the United States called British Security Coordination (BSC).
It was during this time that he worked with such other well known agents as Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond and David Ogilvy.
It is not known exactly how Dahl was recruited as a British agent, but it is thought he was working loosely for BSC by the first four months of 1944 when, officially, he had a public relations role at the British Embassy in Washington DC.
Yet Dahl`s secretive role too ended soon as it went against the grain because he was a terrible gossip who frequently betrayed confidences, according to his family and friends.
Dahl, who died in 1990 aged 74, remains one of the world`s bestselling fiction authors, with sales estimated at 100 million and counting.