I do so love Charlie Muffin.
A much realistic version of an intelligence agent on the ground, relying on his wits and training more than than technology and weaponry.
Nice touches of the class warfare going on in seemingly every reach of the British establishment and how Charlie, with his large chip on shoulder, carves out pieces of his “betters.”
Hail to the Muffin Man!
When it comes to LeCarre, there is “Good John” (almost all the non-Smiley) and “Bad John” (most of the Smiley). This being a ‘Smiley’ offering, the book is not only by my definition, “Bad John,” but also pretty pedestrian writing. The one thing the Smiley contributions do do well is highlighting the mendacity, paucity and amorality of the intelligence profession as a whole.
The core of his excellent mystery serial is the unlikely relationship and sexual tension between Cormoran and Robin, who by now are shared partners in the detective agency. Unfortunately, it should be the plot that carries that along and illustrates it instead of having it jammed down our throats and choking the life out of the story. The worst of the four. Rowling says it is the favorite book she has written. I hope she’s gotten it out of her system and gets back to writing good, balanced stories.
Do you know the Muffin Man? If you don’t, it’s time you did. I have got to go back and read these in chronological order.
The ball point pen was invented in the 1950s. A Frenchman, Marcel Bich, helped perfect it. You know his contribution as the the Bic Pen. Unfortunately for Marcel, the French government believed the invention would undermine the moral fibre of French youth and banned it from schools for a decade and a half. It took an Act of Parliament to get the Bic into French schools.
Lest you think the French have a monopoly on such nonsense, consider that when tea was introduced to Britain centuries ago an esteemed British academic wrote treatises against its introduction that put REEFER MADNESS to shame, claiming it rendered users drug slaves unable to think for themselves and left to moral turpitude under its evil influence.