Reading dates: 15 – 22 January 2022
I love the BBC television series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy so much, I own the DVD without owning a DVD player. Yet, somehow, I have never read any Smiley novels. A Murder of Quality is my first and le Carré did not disappoint. It is a British novel just as I like: a little bleak, with a quirky detective holding an inner life, a good story, well-plotted. The setting in this one is particularly good: Carne school, which is reminiscent of Eton and its strange universe. Smiley was magnificent and reading it made me appreciate Alec Guinness even more, especially in his blending in qualities. Here is how Smiley is described by one of the characters:
Looks like a frog, dresses like a bookie, and has a brain I’d give my eyes for. Had a very nasty war. Very nasty indeed.
I am not sure why I cannot give it 5 stars, maybe because I don’t feel drawn to re-reading it. Something about it reminded me of Agatha Christie, of Conan Doyle and Tana French (which of course came later). Perhaps I did not enjoy it as much as those …