Smiley’s People by John le Carre

I picked this book up at the library’s book sale. I had enjoyed The Spy Who Came In From the Cold so I figured this would be a safe purchase.

Published: 1979

Genre: thriller

Length: 388 pages

Setting: Europe, 1960s

Summary: We start out with some seemingly unrelated plots. Maria Ostrakova is approached by a Russian and convinced to fill out paperwork to allow her daughter (currently in Russia) to join her in Paris. When her daughter never comes, she contacts the General, Vladimir, and tells him her troubles. He ends up dead and George Smiley is brought in to investigate. Smiley discovers that Vladimir has uncovered an incriminating secret of Karla’s, who is a major Russian spy. Smiley pieces together what Vladimir discovered and manages to turn Karla.

Final thoughts: An interesting take on a spy novel since both Smiley and Karla are at the tail end of their careers. Of course, when I read the book, I didn’t realize it was the third book in the Karla Trilogy. I may have enjoyed it even more if I’d read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (the first book in the series) before this book and had a bit more characterization for Smiley and Karla.

Title comes from: The main character was named Smiley and the people were all the people who worked for him, especially in this last, big job.

Reading challenges fulfilled: none since this is a review of a book read in a previous year

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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