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An unsigned note

Oldie readers will need no reminding that the heart of John le Carré’s ‘Circus’ – indeed, of his entire ouevre – is one George Smiley OBE.

From Call for the Dead (in ’61) to the classic ‘Karla trilogy’, and on til (almost) the collapse of Communism, he battled foe and, sometimes, friend, quite often in the streets of central London.

He’s not been seen since 1991. But in proper Oldie style (for Smiley would now be well over a hundred…), it seems he is about to make a re-appearance. 

The details of A Legacy of Spies are locked down tighter than a nuclear facility (the publishing trade could teach those spies a thing or two!). But to help you get back into that redoubtable, unglamorous le Carré spirit, Penguin have released a ‘Smiley’s London’ map, identifying a handful of old favourite locations, like his Chelsea home and the (Cambridge) Circus HQ, and one new one: a safe house which has languished undetected to this day (it’s 14 Disraeli St, in Bloomsbury).

Mapped and illustrated by Mike Hall, you can print it out or just download it to your phone. And sportingly, you’ll note, it includes each branch of Waterstone’s alone the route, enabling you to stop off for that lost le Carré paperback you’d hoped to reference.

The Old Un reckons you could do it in a gentle Sunday, with a stop for lunch. Watch out for ‘pavement artists’.

For The Oldie

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