Call for the Dead Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Call for the Dead

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

Chapter Analysis of Call for the Dead

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes Cloak & Dagger Plotlets:    -   stopping a saboteur/spy Who's the terrorist enemy here?    -   spy ring

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   spy Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


Europe    -   Yes City?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Unusual forms of death    -   drowned    -   perforation--bullets    -   perforation--swords/knives Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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John Le Carre Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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