George Smiley was simply doing a favor for Miss Ailsa Brimley, and old friend and editor of a small newspaper. Miss Brimley had received a letter from a worried reader: “I’m not mad. And I know my husbad is trying to kill me.” But the letter had arrived too late: it’s scribe, the wife of an assistant master at the distinguished Carne School, was already dead.
So George Smiley went to Carne to listen, ask questions, and think. And to uncover, layer by layer, the complex network of skeletons and hatreds that comprised that little English institution.
Reading this after having read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is like reading a fanfiction for a book I loved. The main character is the same–maybe more thoroughly explained and explored–the style is similar, though not quite as crisp, and the mystery is there.
From the beginning it comes clear who the murderer really is, or is expected to be and just like Agatha Christie le Carré distracts the reader from the obvious masterfully. Their styles are different, but the method is the same. Misdirection and withholding of information. I liked it, but it wasn’t the same as Tinker, Tailor.