Disappointed in The Tailor of Panama because I like John le Carre’s books. The plot is a bit jaded. Man with past is blackmailed into being a spy by those who know about the questionable bits of that past, etc. This is a mainframe on which a good novel can be built. Not here, though. Things take far too long to get going and although there are plenty of examples of le Carre’s wit and skill, they are weighed down by the very slow pace of the novel. It takes the first one-third of the book to get any action going, and while I am NOT a fan of ‘action-packed’ narratives, the story should pick up more quickly. As with Graham Greene, le Carre’s ‘heros’ are usually flawed and drift towards their fate. This is the case here with Harry Pendel and his character is well drawn. Pity about the sluggish pace of his story.
‘Arguably his best book since The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’, says The times Educational Supplement on the cover. Well, no.