John le Carré’s enduring (and evidently long-lived) creation, all in one hit.
Call for the Dead
The first of his peerless novels of Cold War espionage and international intrigue, ‘Call for the Dead’ is also the debut of John le Carre’s masterful creation George Smiley. After a routine security check by George Smiley, civil servant Samuel Fennan apparently kills himself. When Smiley finds Circus head Maston is trying to blame him for the man’s death, he begins his own investigation, meeting with Fennan’s widow to find out what could have led him to such desperation. But on the very day that Smiley is ordered off the enquiry he receives an urgent letter from the dead man. Do the East Germans – and their agents – know more about this man’s death than the Circus previously imagined?
A Murder of Quality
A murder mystery in the finest tradition of English detective novels, John le Carre’s ‘A Murder of Quality’ is an ingenious puzzle featuring his best-loved character George Smiley. Stella Rode has twice disturbed the ancient cloisters of Carne School: firstly by being the wrong sort, with her doilies and china ducks, and secondly by being murdered. George Smiley, who has his own connection with the school, is asked by an old Service friend to investigate. Smiley knows that Stella feared her husband would murder her, but as he probes further beneath Carne’s respectable veneer, he uncovers far more than a simple crime of passion.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Alex Leamas is tired. It’s the 1960s, he’s been out in the cold for years, spying in the shadow of the Berlin Wall for his British masters. He has seen too many good agents murdered for their troubles. Now Control wants to bring him in at last – but only after one final assignment. He must travel deep into the heart of Communist Germany and betray his country, a job that he will do with his usual cynical professionalism. But when George Smiley tries to help a young woman Leamas has befriended, Leamas’s mission may prove to be the worst thing he could ever have done.
The Looking Glass War
When the Department – faded since the war and busy only with bureaucratic battles – hears rumour of a missile base near the West German border, it seems like the perfect opportunity to regain some political standing in the Intelligence market place. The Cold War is at its height and the Department is dying for a piece of the action. Swiftly becoming carried away by fear and pride, the Department and her officers send deactivated agent Fred Leiser back into East Germany, armed only with some schoolboy training and his memories of the war. In the land of eloquent silence that is Communist East Germany, Leiser’s fate becomes inseparable from the Department’s.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
A mole, implanted by Moscow Centre, has infiltrated the highest ranks of the British Intelligence Service, almost destroying it in the process. And so former spymaster George Smiley has been brought out of retirement in order to hunt down the traitor at the very heart of the Circus – even though it may be one of those closest to him.
The Honourable Schoolboy
George Smiley, now acting head of the Circus, must rebuild its shattered reputation after one of the biggest betrayals in its history. Using the talents of journalist and occasional spy Jerry Westerby, Smiley launches a risky operation uncovering a Russian money-laundering scheme in the Far East. His aim: revenge on Karla, head of Moscow Centre and the architect of all his troubles.
The concluding part of John le Carre’s celebrated Karla Trilogy, ‘Smiley’s People’ sees the last confrontation between the indefatigable spymaster George Smiley and his great enemy, as their rivalry comes to a shattering end.
A Soviet defector has been assassinated on English soil, and George Smiley is called back to the Circus to clear up – and cover up – the mess. But what he discovers sends him delving into the past, on a trail through Hamburg and Paris to Cold War Berlin – and a final showdown with his elusive nemesis, Karla.
The Secret Pilgrim
The Cold War is over and Ned has been demoted to the training academy. He asks his old mentor, George Smiley, to address his passing-out class. There are no laundered reminiscences; Smiley speaks the truth – perhaps the last the students will ever hear. As they listen, Ned recalls his own painful triumphs and inglorious failures, in a career that took him from the Western Isles of Scotland to Hamburg and from Israel to Cambodia. He asks himself: Did it do any good? What did it do to me? And what will happen to us now?
A Legacy of Spies
Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.
Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own story, John le Carre has given us a novel of superb and enduring quality.