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Publisher's Summary

Magnus Pym, counsellor at the British Embassy in Vienna, has suddenly vanished, believed defected. The chase is on for a missing husband, a devoted father, and a life-time secret agent.
Pym’s life, it is revealed, is entirely made up of secrets. The race is on to find the perfect spy.
©1986 David Cornwell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By David on 06-16-12

The Best

This is by far my favourite of le Carre's books.Although not a spy story as such,it is a story about the making and breaking of a spy.
A story about love,friendship and a tormented man,living in so many different worlds,balancing within himself conflicting characters.
His analysis of Pyms character,as to what goes into making him a perfect spy is riveting.
Ricki Pym,the father,is an enchanting rogue,love and hated,and there is a superb cast of supporting characters,Musspole,Perce Loft,and many others,all vividly alive.
For a novel where so much of the plot is background and family history,and so little takes place in the present,my attention was held from the start.The writing is superb.
Even though I knew the ending I was spellbound as to the depth of the authors sympathy and understanding of his tortured,confused,loyal and traitorous hero.
I have read the book several times and shall listen to this audibook again and again.
Michael Jayston is excellent,as ever

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful


By Emmanuel on 12-24-12

Good story, but not one of le Carre's great ones

Would you listen to A Perfect Spy again? Why?

Don't think so, its a nice read/hear but not significant enough for a re-read

Any additional comments?

Made a very nice reading for my daily commute

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Mr on 04-13-13

Fascinating insight into the mind of a spy

Magnus Pym, the resident spy of the Vienna embassy has gone missing after attending his father's funeral. He has gone to ground, secluded in a B&B in a Devon seaside town, he has decided is now time for him to write the great novel of his life and reveal the true Magnus.



Let's get one thing clear here this is not an 'easy read'; Le Carré is the consumate espionage writer, the writing of a man with first had experience as a serving officer in MI6. You are not going to get your Bond explosions and your Bourne fights here, rather an indepth, semi-autobiographical treatise on what makes a Perfect Spy. The narrative is split between the present day search for Magnus by the security services of Britain, USA and Czechoslovakia and Magnus's memoirs and his confessional correspondence to the key people in his life.



The sweep of the novel takes us from a small village in Wales in the early twentieth century where we meet Pym's father Rick who has a dominant role in Pym's life, we see Rick develop into a confidence trickster par excellence and the effect of this transcient lifestyle on the young Pym it's highs and the inevitable lows. We learn about Pym's school life where commits the first of his many betrayals and then his introduction into the secret world at Uinversity of Berne. We see Pym develop into a young officer all the while leading a double life and his progression through the ranks of the secret service to the utopia that is the Washington posting in the present day, i.e. the 1980s.



The depth of the novel and that of the characters inviolved are all immersing and are brought to life by the excellent Michael Jayston who has made the naration of the Le Carré back catalogue his own





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15 of 15 people found this review helpful


By L on 03-25-13

His best

i think this is le Carre's best book. Michael Jayston is perfect for this read. A little diffident and thoughtful. I read this book years ago and listening to it was a lovely way to revisit it. I wan't disappointed, it was as brilliant as I remembered

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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