006: George Smiley and Call for the Dead with Matthew Bradford
George Smiley is no one’s idea of a spy—which is perhaps why he’s such a natural. But Smiley apparently made a mistake. After a routine security interview, he concluded that the affable Samuel Fennan had nothing to hide. Why, then, did the man from the Foreign Office shoot himself in the head only hours later? Or did he?
The heart-stopping tale of intrigue that launched both novelist and spy, Call for the Dead is an essential introduction to le Carré’s chillingly amoral universe.
Matthew, a screenwriter in LA is a connoisseur of the spy genre. For the last 11 years he has been blogging about spy novels and spy movies on his Double O Section blog. He cites John Le Carre as his favourite author and is working his way through the Smiley series once again in readiness for the new Smiley novel Legacy of Spies to be published later this year.
In the first ever deep dive into a spy novel on the Spybrary Spy Podcast:
- Matthew shares with us which novel he recommends for those of us who are new to Le Carre
- Matthew and Shane reveal that they both struggled with the first John Le Carre book they attempted and gave up! (For Matthew it was The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, for Shane it was ‘A Small Town in Germany.’)
- Matthew describes the major characters in Call for the Dead and how he responded to them, this includes insights into George Smiley and Inspector Mendl. Much more on Smiley to come in future episodes of Spybrary!
- We discuss the plot without revealing too many spoilers (kind of tricky to do as Shane was dying to discuss the ending but decided not to ruin it for those who have not read Call for the Dead yet.) Maybe we need to record a bonus episode where we talk about spoilers and twists so those who have read the book can tune in? What do you think?
- Matthew shares his thoughts on the BBC Radio George Smiley dramas as well as the movie of the book titled ‘The Deadly Affair’ (- Matthew explains why it has a different title.)
- And Much More including the infamous Spybrary Quick Fire round where Matthew reveals more about his favourites in the spy world.
We hope Matthew Bradford will return to deep dive into The Spy who Came In From The Cold with us soon. He is a fount of spy lit and movie knowledge! Please check out his very informative blog, he knows his stuff!
Links and Resources mentioned in this episode.
Also read expertly well by Michael Jayston on Audible (He does a great job with many of the Le Carre novels.)
Double O Section Blog By Matthew Bradford aka Tanner!
The Deadly Affair – movie adaptation of Call for the Dead with James Mason playing the lead
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre
Smiley’s Circus – A Guide to the Secret World of John Le Carre (1986) by David Monaghan
Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad. How to be a Counterintelligence Officer by William Johnstone
Spy Literature and Movie Facebook Groups
Spybrary Discussion Facebook Group – (welcome to discuss all spy authors, books and movies both fact and fiction.)
John Le Carre Official Group
Deighton Dossier Facebook Group (Len Deighton Group run by Rob Mallows of the Deighton Dossier.)
Where the Spies Are