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Ith Carne were complicated by sentiment had had a curious forewarning of the crime and in a private capacity pursued its investigation Without his espionage trained insight into the workings of All this time I had been clear in my mind that George Smiley was a spy master and that John le Carr writes spy novels A Murder of uality the second novel in the George Smiley series blew both of those assumptions away completely While you could argue that Smiley is technically a spy he s retired from the service When his friend and former colleague from their days in the intelligence services Ailsa Brimley receives a paranoid letter from a subscriber to her magazine The Christian Voice the wife of a schoolteacher claiming that her husband intends to kill her Brim is determined to make sure she investigates the claim from such a loyal subscriber and so she goes to the only man she knows who can advise her George SmileyThere are no spies here no moles no cold war no double cross at Checkpoint Charlie This is a straight up murder mystery but one that sets up Smiley s understated detecting capabilities perfectly a murder committed exactly as in the letter but the husband has a solid alibi Luckily Smiley has a tenuous connection with a colleague of the husband and sees an opportunity to take advantage of the rules of politeness and invite himself down to the school to have a poke around Before long Smiley and the local detective are secretly working the case together Detective Inspector Rigby the official side of the investigation and Smiley the eyes and ears in the school itself asking the uestions in a way that the police never couldOf course Smiley s going to solve the case that s never in doubt And while the story is your typical murder mystery le Carr never really plays into that trope of letting the reader play along and pit themselves against the detective Instead he seems to want you to just sit in for the ride watching Smiley s methods learning how he operates To some extent it feels like a primer for the Smiley we can expect in the rest of the novels but that also felt like the skill of the novel At no point did I really want to compete with Smiley I was enjoying the novel too damn much

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A Murder of uality

The human mind Smiley might never have solved the case But logic A Murder eBook #213 and insight were hardly enough to spare him the emotional aftermath of a conclusion he did not want to face Reading John Le Carre s writing is like treating yourself to a fine wine It is not to be sped through or swigged His words and passages lend themselves to being slowly consumed and savored A Murder of uality was set in present day when it was published over 50 years ago Thus the sound of a milk truck chugging from house to house in the early morning hours with the milkman making his front porch deliveries is not out of place Elevator lifts still boast a uniformed elevator operator What floor please As an aside the price printed on the cover of my copy of this paperback book is fifty cents George Smiley ex British Secret Intelligence agent is asked by a longtime friend to look into a matter which turns into a murder most foul In this particular tale there is no espionage no spies nary a mole to be ferreted out It is a simple murder mystery told by the master

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A bloody and apparently senseless murder had been committed at Carne School one of the oldest and most glittering ornaments in the British public school system George Smiley whose connections w Le Carre s first book was not so much a spy novel as a detective story with spies in it and this second book is even less a spy novel it is a detective story with George Smiley in it But that does not prevent A Murder of uality 1962 from being a well written entertaining bookIn an introduction to a paperback edition issued almost thirty years after its original publication le Carre wrote that rereading the book now I find a flawed thriller redeemed by ferocious and uite funny social comment I think that is an accurate assessment Some of the social comment targets the non conformist Christian communities of the laboring class but the most ferocious and most amusing satire is reserved for the upper class English boarding school which the author pillories for its cruelty its insularity and its snobbishness Le Carre knows whereof he speaks for he attended Sherborne in Dorset which he loathed and taught briefly at Eton which he regarded with ambivalent respectThe mystery the murder of a young master s wife who is on record stating that her husband is trying to kill her has enough thrills to keep the pages turning but the real charm of the book is in its treatment of upperclass English education But I was surprised and also pleased to find the atmosphere enriched by a very gothic character a crazy woman named Jane who lives in an abandoned medieval church A Murder of uality although an enjoyable book is nothing special But it was the calm before the storm le Carre s next book would be The Spy that Came in from the Cold


10 thoughts on “A Murder of uality

  1. says:

    Le Carre's first book was not so much a spy novel as a detective story with spies in it and this second book is even less a spy novel it is a detective story with George Smiley in it But that does not prevent A Murder of uality 1962 from being a well written entertaining bookIn an introduction to a paperback edi

  2. says:

    A dog that had not bitten the postman; a devil that rode upon the wind; a woman who knew that she would die; a little worried man in an overcoat standing in the snow outside his hotel and the laborious chime of the Abbey clock telling him to go to bed In this second book in the George Smiley series Miss Brimley calls him because she is concerned about a letter she received for the small publication The Christian Voice where a wom

  3. says:

    I haven't exactly rushed to read John le Carré's books but whenever I've gotten around to it I'm always glad I didThe man can write He's not the best It's not all perfect but it's damn good The words just flow The plots are solid The characters feel like real people which is sometimes a knock on mysterycrime writers Carré spends time rounding out his characters than your typical who dun it writer Sometimes t

  4. says:

    Absolutely excellent My first meeting with George Smiley and certainly an error I will be correcting in the months to come A very interesting character The whole book was a condemnation of the British class system reinforced by the afterword by John Le Carre In it he admits that the kernels of this story are rou

  5. says:

    All this time I had been clear in my mind that George Smiley was a spy master and that John le Carré writes spy novels A Murder of uality the s

  6. says:

    My husband is uite a fan of John LeCarre and convinced me that I should read this one It is a small novel 146 pages compared to his later books of 300 or pages and a little mystery instead of a cold war spy novel Not being the greatest fan of a mystery novel I tend to read them too fast or peek at the ending because I can't stand the suspense or I'm up until the wee hours of the morning because I can't go to sleep unt

  7. says:

    Le Carré's second George Smiley novel is like the first a straightforward mystery without the spycraft elements that would later define the Geo

  8. says:

    Reading John Le Carre's writing is like treating yourself to a fine wine It is not to be sped through or swigged His words and passages lend themselves to being slowly consumed and savored A Murder of uality was set in present day when it was published over 50 years ago Thus the sound of a milk truck chugging from house to house in the early morning hours with the milkman making his front porch deliveries is not out of place Elevator lift

  9. says:

    This is the second book by John le Carré featuring unlikely spy George Smiley To begin my mission to read all the Smiley books in 2020 I did a uick search to identify the titles Regardless of where Google sent me the observations regarding A Murder of uality were similar ranging from not really a Smiley novel to don't bother to read it in seuence That's because it's not a spy novel it's a crime novelFair enough but ne

  10. says:

    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 s

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