This is book number 1 in the George Smiley series.
Simon Russell Beale stars in this BBC Radio 4 dramatization of John le Carre's first novel, which introduced his most famous character, George Smiley.
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realized characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged, and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin.
This dramatization, set in London in the late 1950s, finds Smiley engaged in the humdrum job of security vetting. But when a Foreign Office civil servant commits suicide after an apparently unproblematic interview, Smiley is baffled. Refusing to believe that Fennan shot himself soon after making a cup of cocoa and asking the exchange to telephone him in the morning, Smiley decides to investigate only to uncover a murderous conspiracy with its roots in his own secret wartime past.
Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Kenneth Cranham, Eleanor Bron, and Anna Chancellor, this tense, thrilling dramatization perfectly captures the atmosphere of le Carre's masterful debut novel.