For his second book in the George Smiley series, John le Carre’ turns attention to private boarding schools. The edition that I read contained a short intro by the author who deemed it a flawed thriller but some of that may be due to his very own dislike of private boarding schools he was forced to attend for years. Whatever the reason we see George Smily sort of just milling around doing little until he gets a call from the editor of the Christian Voice. She has received a note from a long-time subscriber who writes that she is frightened that her husband is going to kill her one night. And by the time Smiley arrives in the town of Carne the lady is dead, bludgeoned to death in her conservatory one cold winter night. Smiley teams up with the local police to try and determine the killer.
Could it truly be the husband, a possessed lady, a tutor at the private school, a jealous wife? Loads of possibilities, and while I was able to determine the killer early on in this short book, I had no idea how the crime was pulled off or what the motive for this dreadful beating and death was. All becomes clearer near the end, and despite of its brevity I enjoyed this book and will continue on my quest to read all these books in order. I enjoyed the characters, the pacing, and the fact that it is so darn well written. I enjoy espionage books but le Carre’ just does it better than so many which is why I will stop reading books just so I can read his works. Silly, I guess, but for me, this slow cerebral style of George Smiley hits the mark!