John le Carré: The author's official website

The Complete 'Smiley' Novels

Here is a complete list of the novels featuring John le Carré’s much loved master spy, George Smiley.

Click on the book titles for links to learn more about the novels and read reviews.

Call for the Dead (1961)
It was less an interview than an amiable conversation over a walk in the park. George Smiley had been sent to speak to a high-ranking civil servant after an anonymous tip-off that he was a security risk. It was a formality – and the two men liked each other. Why then, did it apparently drive the poor man to despair? And why was he found dead the next day, the victim of an unnecessary suicide?

Call for the Dead is John le Carré’s first novel, and introduced one of fiction’s most famous spies – George Smiley, who is both brilliant and unremarkable.

Buy it now here

A Murder of Quality (1962)

Stella Rode has written two letters to the Christian Voice’s problem column: the first was a tip for preparing pastry; the second declares that her husband may be planning to kill her. And by the time George Smiley is handed the second letter, Stella is already dead. Travelling to the old, cloistered institution of Carne School, Smiley discovers that neither the very respectable people of the school nor the murder are as straightforward as they appear.

A Murder of Quality is an ingenious mystery – with all of le Carré’s unmatched skill for deft plotting – and a wry, intelligent commentary on class warfare of a particularly bloody kind.

Buy it now here

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963)
Leamas is finished. Every agent he ran in the field has been remorselessly hunted and killed. It is time to come home, to come in from the cold.

But in the moral ambiguities of the Cold War, nothing is ever as it seems – particularly where George Smiley is involved. With its thrillingly effective atmosphere and lean, brilliant prose, John le Carré’s breakthrough novel is a suspenseful masterpiece, and a gripping insight into the unforgiving ethics of espionage. With it, he changed the rules of the game, and was rocketed to worldwide fame.

Winner of the Crime Writers’ Association’s Dagger of Daggers in 2005 for the best crime novel in fifty years.

Buy it now here

The Looking Glass War (1965)
The Department has faded since the war, effectively mothballed, without agents or resources. But now, with intelligence of a possible missile threat, it again has a mission. This is a chance to prove its influence to those at the Circus, like George Smiley, who think the Department’s time has passed. The opportunity to reclaim former glory cannot be missed – even though it means putting men’s lives at desperate risk, on foreign soil.

The Looking Glass War is a gripping story of the amorality of espionage – unflinching in its depiction of the men involved, who are as much full of vanity and fear as of selflessness and courage.

Buy it now here

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974)
The Circus has already suffered a bad defeat, and the result was two bullets in a man’s back. But a bigger threat still exists. And the legendary George Smiley is recruited to root out a high-level mole of thirty years’ standing – though to find him means spying on the spies.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is brilliant and ceaselessly compelling, pitting Smiley against his Cold War rival, Karla, in one of the greatest struggles in all fiction.

Buy it now here

The Honourable Schoolboy (1977)
It is a beleaguered and betrayed Secret Service that has been put in the care of George Smiley. A mole has been uncovered at the organisation’s highest levels – and its agents across the world put in grave danger. But untangling the traitor’s web gives Smiley a chance to attack his Russian counterpart, Karla. And part-time spy Jerry Westerby is the weapon at Smiley’s disposal.

The Honourable Schoolboy is remarkable and thrilling, one of three books (together with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley’s People) to feature the legendary clash between Smiley and Karla, two brilliant spymasters on opposite sides of the Cold War.

Buy it now here

Smiley’s People (1980)
The murdered man had been an agent – once, long ago. But George Smiley’s superiors at the Secret Service want to see the crime buried, not solved. Smiley will not leave it at that, not when it might lead him all the way to Karla, the elusive Soviet spymaster…

Smiley’s People is a thrilling confrontation between one of the most famous spies in all fiction and his Cold War rival, Karla. Like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Honourable Schoolboy, it is as tense and unforgettable as only le Carré’s novels can be.

Buy it now here

The Secret Pilgrim (1991)
The Cold War is over and Ned’s career, if not the whole business of spying, is on the wane. He asks an old mentor – George Smiley – to lecture to the students now in his charge. And the great spy’s speech drives Ned’s thoughts to his own time in the world of espionage: to double agents and proud arms dealers, to a beautiful German terrorist and a royal escort mistaken for an assassin, and to betrayals both clumsy and cold-blooded.

The Secret Pilgrim is le Carré’s final book to feature his most famous creation – the brilliant yet unremarkable George Smiley. The moral ambiguities of espionage are as thrillingly and commandingly present here as anywhere in modern fiction.

Buy it now here

The Complete 'Smiley' Novels