By the late 1950s, veteran British Secret Service agent George Smiley does mostly quiet work back in England. Two days after he conducts a routine security check of a Foreign Office employee named Fennan -- a man Smiley is sure poses no risk -- the man turns up dead, an apparent suicide. His widow, Elsa, a Jewish escapee from the Nazis, tells Smiley a few lies that don't add up. Smiley suspects Fennan was murdered, but his superiors want him to just let the case go. Smiley pursues it anyway, with the help of a police detective named Mendel, and the case turns out to involve people from Smiley's spy-recruiting past in Germany before the war. This 1961 novel was Le Carre's first book, in which he introduced his short, plump, nearsighted and "highly forgettable" but brilliant longime hero.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus