Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy question

What's the best book to start with for someone new to John le Carre?
Alex Alex Jan 28, 2017 07:18PM

I'd like to read some of John le Carre's work this year, but his output is hugely prolific. Is there a best book to start with for the author?

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.

I Agree William. It is one of a series of Smiley books. I thought they were all good.

Ged Gillmore Hi John, saw your post re Le Carre. I'm trying to find writers of similar quality and readability. Any suggestions? gg ...more
Jan 17, 2018 01:12AM · flag

I read The Honourable Schoolboy and was hooked. I don't think I have read A Legacy of Spies

A couple that are seldom mentioned these days: "The Looking Glass War" and "The Secret Pilgrim". The "Secret Pilgrim" is really more of a series of short stories that are linked in the framework of lectures at spy school. "The Looking Glass War" involves the story of another intelligence agency running parallel to Le Carre's Circus and fighting its obsolesence.

Tom Allen LeCarre's Cold War stuff is, in my opinion, very rich. His post-cold war stuff tends to be polemic in nature. I like Graham Greene a lot-- especially ...more
Mar 15, 2018 09:09AM · flag

The first Le Carré book I read was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but I think Call for the Dead would be a better one to start with. The problem with reading the books out of order is that it can cause spoilers (especially with the Karla Trilogy, where the mole from “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” is mentioned in the later books).

Agree. However one can read "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" (Le Carre's self-admitted favorite and also a good one to start off with) and still be okay...

If you're still looking, and intend to buy, then I recommend finding the The Spy Who Came In From The Cold ;Call For The Dead ; A Murder Of Quality ; The Looking Glass War ; A Small Town In Germany (Heinemann/Octopus joint publication) a collection (complete and unabridged) of 5 stories written in the 60's and introduces George Smiley. I got this book in 1980 and I haven't stopped reading Le Carre since.

Vladimr (last edited Oct 27, 2018 07:14AM ) Oct 27, 2018 07:13AM   0 votes
may be a start with more modern time would be ok, for example "The Constant Gardener". But if you want to get hooked right away The Spy Who Came In from the Cold is a must.

I started with 'Legacy of Spies '(may have been his first'; then 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; then Honourable Schoolboy - all good. I read more, in order, but am taking a respite. Enjoy!

back to top