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Having read many of le Carre’s earlier novels, I awaited the arrival of his latest book with eager anticipation. I was disappointed. Le Carre states that this novel was inspired by Graham Greene’s ‘Our Man In Havana’. Greene has a lot to answer for.
Harry Pendel is the tailor of the title, an Englishman living in Panama. One day a man named Andrew Osnard walks into his shop and, as the cliché goes, nothing is ever the same again. Pendel is set up as a spy to find out the fate of the Panama Canal. Except Pendel can’t spy, so he makes his information up. Essentially, there isn’t much of a plot, I didn’t care about the characters and the ending was one of the biggest anticlimaxes I have ever read. You’re far better off reading The Russia House.