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The first le Carre novel is often dismissed as a minor work of interest only for introducing spymaster George Smiley, but it also serves as a template for later masterpieces such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Investigating whether the death of a Foreign Office official was the suicide it appeared to be, Smiley unravels a series of betrayals, both political and personal, that are all equally painful to those involved. As with his readings elsewhere in the Smiley series, Michael Jayston provides a nuanced narration that is as subtle as the unfolding events. VERDICT Because this tight, spellbinding thriller eschews the labyrinthine duplicities of later novels, while tackling the same themes, it serves as an excellent entree to le Carre's world.-Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.