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Murder of Quality Hardcover – Import, 1 October 2004
|Hardcover, Import, 1 October 2004||
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“To honor [their] 45th anniversary, Walker is reissuing these first two George Smiley mysteries in affordable hardcovers. Grab em.” ―Library Journal
“Beautifully intelligent, satiric and witty.” ―The Observer (London)
“Vastly entertaining.” ―Sunday Telegraph (London)
About the Author
John le Carré made his literary debut in America on Walker & Company's first lists, in 1962 and 1963, introducing his famous character, George Smiley. Now, as part of our 45th anniversary, we are proud and excited to re-issue these two early masterpieces in new hardcover editions, with introductions by the author and forewords by P. D. James and Otto Penzler.
John le Carré has been called "simply the world's greatest fictional spymaster" (Newsweek) and "one of the half-dozen best novelists now working in English" (Chicago Sun-Times). "No other contemporary novelist has more durably enjoyed the twin badges of being both well-read and wellregarded," wrote Scott Turow. He has created many memorable characters, but none with more worldwide acclaim than George Smiley, the bland, paunchy, yet deadly British Secret Service agent.
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- Publisher : Walker Books; Reissue edition (1 October 2004)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 308 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0802714420
- ISBN-13 : 978-0802714428
- Item Weight : 331 g
- Dimensions : 15.14 x 1.75 x 21.79 cm
- Country of Origin : USA
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,903,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from India
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It's more of a probe into Smiley's character as he plays a detective as a favour for a friend.
You can skip it and you'll lose no substantial information when the series as a whole is considered.
But this is a damn good novel and really quick to read. So I didn't see any reason to miss it.
P. S. The thing that I found interesting here has actually nothing to do with the Smiley series but with Game of Thrones. GRR Martin has directly borrowed without modifications a few terms from this book which made crucial GoT stuff, for eg. The Long Nights, & ...they were called crows b/c they dressed in black... and a few other things.
Top reviews from other countries
In this, Le Carre seems to be exploring a different course for Smiley's and hence his own career. Here Smiley has left the Circus, and is encouraged by a magazine editor, and old acquaintance, to look into a cry for help from a reader. Things take a fatal turn and Smiley finds himself looking into a murder in the claustrophobic, political and arcane world of an English public school.
This is a straightforward detective novel, with no element of espionage in it, and Le Carre seems to be establishing Smiley as an English Poirot, ready to launch into a series of novels.
As with the previous book, Le Carre is experimenting with characters, in particular the magazine editor has elements of being a prototype for Connie Sachs.
Also of interest is the strong social and political tone of the work, a common thread throughout Le Carre's career. Both in the story itself, and in an afterword, this is an absolutely vicious attack on the English public school system, both for its cruelty to those within it, and for its corrosive impact on society. Like Orwell attacking the excesses of the Stalinist left, this has the feel of an insider biting the hand which beat him.
In 'A Murder of Quality' le Carré is getting into his stride in developing the character of Smiley. It's also an unmissable opportunity for him to pour out his feelings of loathing and disgust towards the public school system of the time and in which he had suffered as a boy. It's brief, and not as thrilling as the later books in the series, but is nevertheless an enjoyable read.
A Murder of Quality is a fairly standard crime thriller set in a public school. What turns out to be much more interesting than the book itself is le Carré's two afterwords written in the 1990s and early 2000s, which give his strongly held opinions on the public and grammar school systems. I got the kindle version on offer for 99p; it's certainly worth it at this price.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 June 2020