Spies

by

Michael Frayn

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Auntie Dee is the sister of Keith’s mother, mother of Milly, and wife of Uncle Peter. Unlike her sister, who is composed and collected, Auntie Dee is described as short, hectic, and cheerful. In contrast to the Haywards’ meticulous aesthetic, Auntie Dee’s house is untidy, which instead “reflected the glory of Uncle Peter.” Unlike most sisterly relationships, as Stephen judges, Auntie Dee is particularly close with Keith’s mother, who is always doing her shopping for her. It later turns out that the two were secretly looking after Uncle Peter, but they have a falling out when it is revealed that Keith’s mother and Uncle Peter have an affair together. Auntie Dee is the only adult from Keith’s family who actually addresses Stephen by his name.

Auntie Dee / Mrs. Tracey Quotes in Spies

The Spies quotes below are all either spoken by Auntie Dee / Mrs. Tracey or refer to Auntie Dee / Mrs. Tracey . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of Spies published in 2003.
Chapter 6 Quotes

Even before this there were a lot of things piling up that I couldn’t tell Keith about. Barbara Berrill’s visit. Her stupid stories about his mother and his aunt. Now I’ve been burdened with another secret that I have to keep from him. But how can we possibly proceed if I don't tell him this one?

Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Spies LitChart as a printable PDF.
Spies PDF

Auntie Dee / Mrs. Tracey Character Timeline in Spies

The timeline below shows where the character Auntie Dee / Mrs. Tracey appears in Spies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
...They did not interact with anyone else in the neighborhood, except for Keith’s mother’s sister, Auntie Dee , who lived three doors down. Stephen describes Auntie Dee as being the opposite of... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Stephen attributes Auntie Dee ’s recklessness and untidiness to the absence of her husband Uncle Peter, who was a... (full context)
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
...corrects himself again, and resituates the memory to an earlier time when a policeman paid Auntie Dee a visit over a complaint about her failure to comply with the blackout. Stephen then... (full context)
Chapter 3
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...Keith observes the blotter, Stephen looks at a photograph of a young Keith’s mother and Auntie Dee holding hands. Stephen looks at the blotter himself, but can only make out a few... (full context)
Chapter 4
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...about to leave when they suddenly see Keith’s mother leaving the house to go to Auntie Dee ’s. At that moment, Stephen begins to realize the “oddity of the whole relationship” between... (full context)
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
Keith’s mother leaves Auntie Dee ’s house to go shopping for her. Keith runs after his mother to follow her,... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
...mother to the Avenue, but the same thing happens again and he finds her at Auntie Dee ’s immediately. Somehow she’s delivered a letter and returned to Auntie Dee’s without Stephen being... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
As it is getting darker, the boys find Keith’s mother going to Auntie Dee ’s house again and coming out to turn around the corner. They follow her, but... (full context)
Chapter 5
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...and he keeps trying to ignore her. Then Stephen sees Keith’s mother walking empty-handed to Auntie Dee ’s house; she immediately comes out with a shopping basket and heads towards the shops.... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Then Barbara wonders if Keith’s mother is taking a message to Auntie Dee ’s boyfriend. She explains that Deirdre and Geoff have seen the two kissing in the... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...[Keith’s mother is] not a German spy at all.” He sees Keith’s mother returning to Auntie Dee ’s house and handing her a full shopping basket—even though it’s evening and all the... (full context)
Chapter 6
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...has to hide from Keith, such as Barbara’s intrusion, her gossip about Keith’s mother and Auntie Dee , and his own conversation with Keith’s mother. (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...in his Home Guard uniform and waiting for Keith’s mother, who is not back from Auntie Dee ’s. Keith’s mother then appears with a shopping basket, looking rushed and out of breath.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...and “germs” are similar to Germans. He also visits the possibility that “x” could be Auntie Dee ’s secret boyfriend, but he quickly abandons that idea. But above all, Stephen wishes that... (full context)
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
...day until the thermos is returned. Keith’s father then asks about Keith’s mother—who’s supposedly at Auntie Dee ’s—and smiles a strange smile. Then he goes into the garage and starts sharpening his... (full context)
Chapter 8
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...in the lookout alone when Barbara joins him again. They see Keith going shopping for Auntie Dee —he now does it instead of his mother. Stephen feels guilty because he thinks it... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
One day Stephen sees a crowd of children surrounding Auntie Dee ’s house, because a policeman is inside talking with her. The children say “the man... (full context)
Chapter 9
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...thought that the man is a German, making all this indefensible. Stephen finally suggests that Auntie Dee could deliver the basket, but then Keith’s mother starts to cry and he realizes that... (full context)
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...that he has turned Keith’s mother and father against each other, and Keith’s mother and Auntie Dee against each other. Feeling that he’s “ruined everything”, he apologizes. Then he sees Keith’s father... (full context)
Chapter 10
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...such a “nuisance” before with their spying games. The man then asks how Milly and Auntie Dee (who he only calls “Milly’s mother”) are. Stephen still can’t help thinking of the man... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Stephen sees Auntie Dee and Milly leaving the Haywards’ house, with Milly crying loudly. Keith’s mother follows them, but... (full context)
Chapter 11
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...never played with Keith again. He finds out that Uncle Peter has gone missing and Auntie Dee has fallen out with Keith’s mother. Barbara started ignoring Stephen and hanging out with another... (full context)