Running Time 2hrs 50mins
Julian Rhind-Tutt is Magnus Pym in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast adaptation of John le Carre’s superb spy novel
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award – AudioFile
‘Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.’
So says Magnus Pym, the spy of the title; and he has betrayed a lot in his life – countries, friends, family and lovers. When Magnus disappears after his father’s funeral, MI6 launches an urgent manhunt to prevent his defection. But Pym is on a search of his own, to unravel the mystery of what made him the perfect spy.
Was it the duplicity of his con artist father, Rick? Or his MI6 mentor and father figure Jack Brotherhood? Or was it Axel, the Czech agent he has known since his teens? All have marked him in crucial ways, and as the net closes around Magnus, he attempts finally to make sense of his life and find the source of his talent for deception…
A Perfect Spy is le Carre’s most autobiographical novel, and has been hailed as his masterpiece. This superlative radio production, starring Julian Rhind-Tutt, Bill Paterson, Michael Maloney and Anton Lesser, is a compelling exploration of identity, treachery and the complexities of the human heart.
John le Carre was born in 1931. For six decades, he wrote novels that came to define our age. The son of a confidence trickster, he spent his childhood between boarding school and the London underworld. At sixteen he found refuge at the university of Bern, then later at Oxford. A spell of teaching at Eton led him to a short career in British Intelligence (MI5&6). He published his debut novel, Call for the Dead, in 1961 while still a secret servant. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People. At the end of the Cold War, le Carre widened his scope to explore an international landscape including the arms trade and the War on Terror. His memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, was published in 2016 and the last George Smiley novel, A Legacy of Spies, appeared in 2017. He died on 12 December 2020.
‘Taut, intricate, and urbane–this BBC/Scotland radio adaptation captures the sound and feel of the British-grey atmosphere and cold war imagery of John le Carre’s 1986 masterwork.’ Audio File Magazine
‘It’s not often that a spy novel can be described as heart-breaking, but that’s just how close to the bone and well told this spy story is.’ Audio File Magazine