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A Murder of Quality,
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This review is from: A Murder of Quality (George Smiley series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
This is the second novel featuring George Smiley; the first is Call for the Dead. This is unlike most of the Smiley books, in that it is really a classic crime story, much in the style of an Agatha Christie. Set in an exclusive boarding school, Carne School in Dorset, this is obviously something which the author feels strongly about, admitting that he spent much of his life from the age of five (so young!) in such institutions, as well as teaching at Eton.
In this book, Smiley is contacted by Miss Ailsa Brimley, who he knew from the war. She works at a small magazine, the Christian Voice, which has a loyal and long standing readership. One of the readers, who has subscribed since the beginning, is Stella Rode - now a wife of one of the masters at Carne. When she contacts the letters page to say she fears her husband is trying to kill her, Miss Brimley takes it seriously and turns to Smiley. However, when he investigates, he finds that Mrs Rode was killed the previous evening, in a vicious attack at her home.
This is an unusual novel in the Smiley series, but well worth reading if you enjoy crime and mystery books and also offers insights into the character of George Smiley - as the area where the story is set is the one in which his wife, Ann, grew up. It also has an interesting setting and Miss Brimley is an excellent character, as are the snobbish and tradition bound masters at the school. If you wish to read on, the next book is the classic The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Penguin Modern Classics).