Book Review: A Murder of Quality by John LeCarre

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If you are after a novel about crime, murder and espionage then you can’t go far wrong than reading one of LeCarre’s works. In my opinion he is the master of the crime genre with well thought out and well written stories, great believable characters and description that transports into the book.

This particular novel starts in a way that will make you want to read on with mystery and intrigue at the office of Miss Ailsa Brimley where she receives a letter from a Miss Stella Rode claiming that her husband is plotting to kill her. Not much later Miss Brimley discovers that Rode is dead and with that she takes the letter and the news to her old friend and work colleague at the Secret Service, George Smiley. Immediately the two set about to find out what happened to Miss Rode and the next morning Smiley is on a train to Carne, a small village which is the home to the famous and prestigious Carne School. A school that is so cut off from the residents of the village that surrounds it and it is also the scene of the murder as Stella Rode was the wife of new recruit teacher, Mr Stanley Rode. Using old contacts such as Mr Terence Fielding who works at the school, the police on hand and his Secret Service skills and know how, Smiley starts to conduct his own investigation into the murder to try and find out just exactly who killed Stella Rode.

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There are false arrests and moments of sheer writing brilliance when the description completely changes your mood as you read, from the terror experienced by Smiley to the sad moments where people are recounting their tales of the murder and the night it happened. It is a great short story that you will no doubt inhale quickly and with such brilliant prose and such a great story full of twists and turns it is completely understandable why that would be the case.

If you are looking to get into LeCarre’s work or are looking for a new crime writer to read then this short novel would be the perfect starting place giving you an introduction to LeCarre’s writing in a bitesize chunk. It may be one of the later books from his work but it is something to be revisited time and time again over the years after the initial bug has been placed for devouring all of LeCarre’s work.

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