It’s a sad day that I have to tell you that famed spy and thriller writer John le Carré died of pneumonia on Sunday at the age of 89.
The prolific author, who was born David John Moore Cornwell, wrote many novels and semi-autobiographical books that discuss his own work as a spy working for MI5 in the 1950s, and then in M16 in the 1960s.
During this time, he started to write his crime novels and created the character of George Smiley, who was inspired by the writer’s real life experiences. Smiley became a feature of a series of novels, including Smiley’s People, The Russia House and The Secret Pilgrim.
Throughout his career as a writer, le Carré wrote dozens of books, many of which got turned into incredible TV shows and films, including Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, The Little Drummer Girl and The Night Manager.
All of these books and adaptations helped to cement the author as one of the top spy thriller writers in the world. His work has inspired and influenced so many other crime and thriller writers. As a writer, le Carré was renowned for his tense scenes, droll dialogue and scathing portrayals of recognisable figures from real life political and social arenas.
In both his writing and his social commentary, the author was renowned for his staunch defence of democracy. He was against Donald Trump’s appointment as president of the USA (as any sane person was), as well as the joke that is Brexit. He also loathed Vladimir Putin, and his final published novel, Agent Running In The Field, gave a scathing portrayal of Russia and its interference in the politics and polices of some of the world’s greatest superpowers, including America and the UK.
Over the decades, le Carré continued to write, and his books span the early 1960s, when the first George Smiley novel was released, through to Agent Running In The Field, which was published in 2019. Each of his novels is a unique portrayal of the tense world of international espionage, and draws you into the tense settings inhabited by his secretive and 3 dimensional characters.
He leaves behind a loving family, including 4 adult children and a wife. He died in Cornwall, which isn’t far from his birthplace of Poole, in Dorset, AKA, the best place in the world.
Overall, le Carré lived a full and inspiring life, and he will be missed not just by his close friends and family, but also by the legions of fans of his intriguing and spellbinding books.