I do enjoy the attention to detail that le Carre gives to his stories; in some cases, though, the “swept along” feeling and all the myriad details causes me to lose my bearings at times. There was so much change of venue and intricacy of interaction and scene in The Honourable Schoolboy that I think it would be helpful for me to go back and read it again. I do get the sense though, that he loves the theme of inherent conflict of conscience and duty, his characters opting for the conscience side and often love wins out, here, as in The Russia House. One’s country just can’t hold a candle to the value of love and honor for its own sake. Even Bill Haydon in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is driven by his own ideals and not by those of his country. And the superest of super spies, George Smiley, is as far from James Bond as one can get: fat, bookish, quiet, a real nebbish. But he is so self-contained, deliberate and attentive to detail that he excels in his job, even when no one wants him to do it. He seems to have a similar relationship with his superior, “Control,” as Bond has with M though. And through the post-Fleming Bonds, we see him becoming a dinosaur, much as Smiley is phased out in the Circus.
Alas, now I must do detective work on my refrigerator again. I’m just puttin’ it off…cheers!