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Where Smiley began - a little rough but a good intro into Le Carre,
This review is from: Call for the Dead (Paperback)
Le Carre's first novel sees the introduction of George Smiley who would later become the pivotal hero of so many of the author's works. Here the introduction embellishes the reader with swathes of detail of Smiley's background, as he investigates the mysterious death of a Foreign Office worker, Samuel Fennan, whose passing is shrouded in mystery.
Arguably closer to a murder mystery than a spy story, Le Carre's initial foray into novel writing is a clear marker for his punchy style to come.
In the context of other works this acts as a bit of background, especially as his 3rd book, the superior The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Penguin Modern Classics), often references "the Fennan Case". It also provides the first glimpse at Smiley and actually offers much more information on Smiley's heritage than is later provided in other works.
As a stand alone work though, the story is a little short and the plot is not overly developed but the signs of Le Carre are certainly there and the brevity is therefore unsurprising.