The Tailor of Panama

by John Le Carré

After reading Le Carré’s memoirs, The Pigeon Tunnel, I felt I should read at least one of his novels.  This one was recommended by my friend Lindsay.

It is quite a heavy read – although the story gripped my imagination, still I felt I needed to work at it.Le Carré’s writing did not disappoint.  He is insightful into human character, and he also knows how to tell a good story.  Unlike many spy stories, there weren’t a lot of twists and turns (which I find lead me to lose the plot!) and the outcome was predictable, if shocking.  But the moral stance of the various characters, their behaviour and the ways in which they relate to each other were all minutely observed and, sadly, all too believable.  I hope that the author was to some extent poking fun at the ways in which his security officers and politicians operate.  But I can almost believe that this kind of thing happens, and did happen in Latin America as well as elsewhere in the world.  Shocking, if true.


The Pigeon Tunnel

by John le Carré

A highly readable memoir, composed of short anecdotes from le Carré’s life – some of them already published, others not.  I have never read any of le Carré’s work, and the only ones I have seen on TV or film are The Spy who came in from the Cold and the 2015 BBC version of The Night Manager.  This book has made me consider reading more by this author – but in general I find spy stories too hard to understand!