Call For The Dead (George Smiley)
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This first George Smiley novel—also the first for John le Carre—is not a spy novel really, but more like a murder mystery with spies in it.
You see, Smiley is ordered to conduct a routine security check on Samuel Fennan, and, since he sees no serious concerns in Fennan's past—just a little harmless wartime flirtation with communism—he reassures Fennan and they part in friendly fashion. But soon Fennan is pronounced a suicide, and Fennan's wife Elsa claims that, after his interview with Smiley, he ...more
In many ways, Call for the Dead is a book of its time. It opens with a chapter setting out ‘A Brief History of George Smiley’, something a modern novelist might find difficult to get away with. But the ‘backstory’ of S ...more
"When Lady Ann Sercomb married George Smiley towards the end of the war she described hi ...more
One of the things that makes George Smiley stand out among the others of his ilk is his looks, oddly enough. He is a quiet, ordina ...more
This book—which I believe was his first—reminded me a great deal of Graham Greene's work: It was short, fast-paced, and highly entertaining. But even in so short a book his talent for weaving intricately tangled webs of espionage asserts itself. He strings the reader along throughout the narrative dropping little clues here and there, slowly revealing t ...more
Smiley is asked to interview a man in the Foreign Office, Samuel Fennan, in a routine security check. Fennan has been under suspicion of Communist sympathies but Smiley talks to him as they walk i ...more
The mystery itself is straight-forward: I fig ...more
was really crazy about spy novels. I'm rereading LeCarre's old ones
though. He's good. This one introduces the character of George Smiley
who figures in the best of his spy fiction a decade later (Books like
Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy, The Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley's
Smiley, an secret intelligence officer , interviews a Foreign Office
official about whom his bosses have received an anonymous letter
saying he's a Communi ...more
Smiley interviews an agent who had been anonymously denounced, and Smiley gets a good feeling about ...more
Indeed the density and complexity of the characters he portrayts, is very close to reality. This is not for everyone.
In the case of the main character of this first book, George Smiley, who I already knew from other works, such complexity and ambiguity are all too evident.
Still "Call for th ...more
As alway ...more
I'm glad I did. CALL FOR THE DEAD is a pretty straight-foward murder mystery with spy trappings, but it serves as a fine introduction to Smiley and what makes him tick. Smiley, who is clearly ...more
I haven't ye ...more
Nice introduction of George Smiley. Nothing too difficult to read. Slow and steady wins the race with this lot. I definitely had Gary Oldman pictured (remember Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy??). Of course, the description of George and chubby and plain, kind of threw me off. Of course, it had no bearing on his though process and figuring out of this mystery.
Did Fennan kill himself, or was he "liquidated?" If murdered, then why? What role does the past play in current events? Is ...more
But perhaps not.
George Smiley has become an iconic character, at least in my little corner of the world, even without my ever having encoun ...more
A couple years ago when I had The Spy Who Came in from the Cold on my reading list I found an inelegantly bound collection of John le Carré novels at a used friends of the library bookstore. The edition contained le Carré's first five novels. I enjoyed The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and forgot about the rest of the novels in the edition until a couple days ago when I was looking for something of a palette cleaners after reading Freedom. Unable for some reason to proceed straight to the new DF...more
"take your hands off me! Do you think I'm yours because I don't belong to them? Go away! Go away and kill Freitag and Dieter, keep the game alive, Mr Smiley. But don't think I'm on your side, d'you hear? Because I'm the wandering Jewess, theno-man's land, the battlefieldfor your toy soldiers. You can kick me and trample on me, see, but never, never touch me, never tell me you're sorry, d'you hear? Now get out! Go away and kill"
The first novel by John le Carré is also the 1st novel with the icon ...more
CALL FOR THE DEAD introduces George Smiley, quite literally. The first chapter is a brief biography of the character leading up to the novel's events.
Le Carre's exceptional prose elevates what is otherwise a pretty simple murder mystery with espionage elements. Smiley investigates the suspicious death of a possible double agent, and uncovers a spy ring operating in London. Classic spycraft hijinks ensue.
Interestingly enough le Carre's cold ...more
See also: John le Carré - Wikipedia