John le Carré obituary

Writer whose spy novels chronicle how people’s lives play out in the corrupt setting of the cold war era and beyond

John le Carré, who has died aged 89 of pneumonia, raised the spy novel to a new level of seriousness and respect.

He was in his late 20s when he began to write fiction – in longhand, in small red pocket notebooks, on his daily train journey between his home in Buckinghamshire and his day job with MI5, the counter-intelligence service, in London. After the publication of two neatly crafted novels, Call for the Dead (1961) and A Murder of Quality (1962), which received measured reviews and modest sales, he hit the big time with The Spy Who Came in from the Cold  [ . . . ]

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