With the recent movie "Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy" with Gary Oldman now out, I thought I would dust off the book first before heading to the movie theaters. I was reminded again how well John le Carre writes, and how fascinating the world he creates is. I then probably foolishly watched the BBC series "Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy" with Alec Guinness. I should have seen the movie first, so I could have judged it on its merits instead of now comparing it to the book and then to the stunning BBC series. But in any case, doing all of this reawakened a gladness to have come upon the book again. I plan to launch now into the other Smiley books by la Carre.The book is paced so very well, and the little touches are just right. George Smiley seems a bit like Father Brown from Chesterton. Physically he looks rotund and a bit dim perhaps. But he is anything but dim! This deceiving exterior impression hides a rapid and startlingly astute mind. His ability to be mentally nimble and dance around the various paths of espionage miles ahead of anyone else is stunning. It is like watching a chess master think and plan and execute at exactly the right time. One touch that I especially appreciated is Smiley's habit of always cleaning his glasses with the fat end of his tie. This simple and seemingly unimportant act seems to always happen before you understand that Smiley not only understands, but understands with crystal clarity about the particular situation before him at that moment. I was struck in the BBC version of how well Alec Guinness handled this, taking his glasses off and cleaning them and then putting them on and you see his owlish eyes and realize "HE UNDERSTANDS!". Just so really well done.