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Call for the Dead | [John le Carré]

Call for the Dead

This novel, set in London in the late 1950s, finds George Smiley engaged in the humdrum job of security vetting. But when a Foreign Office civil servant commits suicide after an apparently unproblematic interview, Smiley is baffled. Refusing to believe that Fennan shot himself soon after making a cup of cocoa and asking the exchange to telephone him in the morning, Smiley decides to investigate - only to uncover a murderous conspiracy.
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Publisher's Summary

An unabridged reading by Michael Jayston of John le Carré's first novel, which introduced his most famous character, George Smiley.

Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged, and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess 'the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin'.

This novel, set in London in the late 1950s, finds Smiley engaged in the humdrum job of security vetting. But when a Foreign Office civil servant commits suicide after an apparently unproblematic interview, Smiley is baffled. Refusing to believe that Fennan shot himself soon after making a cup of cocoa and asking the exchange to telephone him in the morning, Smiley decides to investigate - only to uncover a murderous conspiracy with its roots in his own secret wartime past.

©1962 David Cornwell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (107 )
5 star
 (51)
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4.5 (43 )
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4.6 (42 )
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  •  
    Amid Hoole, United Kingdom 17/01/2012
    Amid Hoole, United Kingdom 17/01/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic murder mystery"

    I started listening to John le Carre with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (another book which I can thoroughly recommend) and i've become addicted to him. This, his first book, is a great read/listen and a much easier one than Tinker Tailor, albeit just as engrossing. I would highly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr Bardsey, United Kingdom 09/07/2014
    Mr Bardsey, United Kingdom 09/07/2014 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Place to start reading le Carre"
    What did you like most about Call for the Dead?

    This is a very clever mystery around solving why a man apparently killed himself having just made a cup of cocoa. Although it is clear that is more to this than a suicide it is a real brain teaser. It is not as complex as some of the later novels but well worth listening too.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It is a book to digest in parts and try and solve for yourself rather than listen to in one go.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom 15/12/2013
    Anna BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom 15/12/2013 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Good story, great narration"

    Call for the Dead is the first John Le Carre/Smiley novel that I have listened to and, based on this, will definitely be purchasing more. It is an entertaining, compact spy story with great central characters. My enjoyment of it was further increased by the excellent narrator who perfectly performs all of the characters, George Smiley especially.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roderic Victoria Park, Australia 24/10/2013
    Roderic Victoria Park, Australia 24/10/2013 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narration adds to something already great"
    What made the experience of listening to Call for the Dead the most enjoyable?

    Having a highly competent narrator was central to my enjoyment of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    This was the first Le Carre novel I listened to and since then I have listened to five more... all narrated by Michael Jayston.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nicole United Kingdom 27/02/2013
    nicole United Kingdom 27/02/2013 Member Since 2013

    "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Call for the Dead"

    Another John le Carré novel that I would recommend unreservedly. I have read other le Carré novels first that were far more epic in nature but enjoyed that this story started off in a far more subtle way gradually bring the characters we love into focus.

    In some audio books I find I have to try to ignore the fact that the narrator only seems to be able to do one voice for a dozen different characters or uses a tone/accent that seems completely at odds with the story itself. In this version the narrator is in perfect keeping with the atmosphere of the book bringing the characters and story to life in a way which in my opinion is comparable with the BBC dramatizations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart Glenrothes, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
    Stuart Glenrothes, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
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    "A great beginning!"

    As the first LeCarre I was a little trepidatious, fearing a weak first novel. But this was a cracker. Excellently read and with a sense of tone and atmosphere which drew me in to a nicely complex plot, not overdone or hard to follow but gripping and engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catriona Coulsdon, United Kingdom 04/11/2012
    Catriona Coulsdon, United Kingdom 04/11/2012 Member Since 2007
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    "Period Atmosphere"

    The first George Smiley novel which is worth listening to for the back story alone. Set at the dawn of the cold war as the first east european intelligence networks are developing, it feels much more of a period piece; telephone exchanges, cockney car dealers and amateur theatre companies. However, in this early novel, we can John le Carres lift this spy story far above a penny thriller through his ability to paint psycological complexity and claustrophobic atmosphere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Buckhurst Hill, United Kingdom 06/04/2012
    Simon Buckhurst Hill, United Kingdom 06/04/2012 Member Since 2010
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    "Good book, but not the le Carre to start with."

    This book provides aditional information about smileys charictor, introduces suporting charictors like Mendel and Guilum, and is a good story in it's own right, but a friend of mine who read as their first le Carre was left unsure what the fuss was about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-8 of 8 results
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  • Stephen
    ascot vale, Australia
    14/05/12
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Well read, good book"

    Great book and well read. Michael Jayston is a great reader and lends himself to the characters.
    Book is interesting and often times dramatic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results

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