Spy Who Came in From the Cold


Pageturners had an interesting discussion about this spy thriller by John Le Carre (real name David Cornwell) which is as relevant today as it was when it was written in 1963.

There was lots of discussion about the characters, the plot, the ending, the title and what it meant and also about how bleak life was for Alec Leamus, current politics and travel experiences of East Berlin.

Comments included “the ending is very sad, difficulty understanding what actually happened and who to trust, written in the Cold War era but still relevant today, it’s a classic of the spy genre, the way it is structured is very clever, it has a bleak atmosphere, it is complex, tension so well delivered, Mundt and Leamus were the same but on different sides, lots of moral dilemmas, a gripping thriller, master storyteller, draws on experience of British security services, it’s a triple bluff and very clever, its well written with no waffle, and it’s very precise and concise.

Ratings out of 5 were in the 4s and 4.5s.

For further reading:

Guardian Article by William Boyd:


Discussion Questions:


Interview with John Le Carre:


About his autobiography:


His website and latest book:


The read for Pageturners will be The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa with the meeting to be held on Wednesday 10th May.

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