A version of this review originally appeared on a now long defunct livejournal account.
The Tailor of Panama
John Le Carre
Le Carre, is in my opinion, the best espionage novelist of all time. If you’re fan of the genre, you’ve probably read at least some of his books. If not, you should.
The Tailor of Panama was the first book of his I read (I picked it up in an airport in Germany, which feels kind of right). In some ways, it’s an outlier. LeCarre’s masterpieces, the Smiley books, all take place mainly in the dank offices and dark alleys of cold war Europe. Here we’re in sunny Panama, but its still a world of mirrors and lies, deception by and to those we love, and understated implied, violence. LeCarre is still one of the best dialogue writers in the business. His ear for the way we speak is unparalleled.
In the Le Carre cannon the Tailor of Panama may be a minor work, but if you’re a fan of spy fiction it is certainly still a book worth reading.
Recommended for the enthusiast.