And I thought the film was pretty decent, that is, before I read The Constant Gardener. I read it very quickly, it was one of those unputdownable books that once you start, you just want to keep going. Then of course, you suffer from withdrawal symptoms because it was so good. I am now suffering…I’ve had this book for a couple of years so now I feel a bit sheepish for having it sit there on the shelf, making friends with all the other ‘pile of shame’ books waiting to be read at some point. I sort of have an excuse for this one, bought it together with The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, all being on The Guardian’s 1,000 novels list that I follow on and off. I liked The Spy and I loved Tinker, Tailor to the extent that it is now probably one of my favourite books of all time, it was the pacing of it, the slow unravelling and just fantastic story telling. So, when I come across a book like that, I want to read everything the author has ever produced, immediately, then I OD on the author, which is not good. One example is William Boyd and Any Human Heart (adored) vs. A Good Man in Africa (very disappointing, probably even more disappointing because Any Human Hart was wonderful). I am now exercising caution and giving self breaks between reading books by same author. Hence a long break between Tinker, Tailor and The Constant Gardener. I really did enjoy it though, it is the pacing and the unravelling that Le Carre does so well, it is very human and completely gripping, to the point that I was wishing for traffic jams and who cares if I’m late for work all week. Of course, it’s made me think of his earlier spy novels and why I’ve not yet read Smiley’s People but am not going to fall into that trap again. For one, I don’t have any other George Smiley novels to hand and ‘pile of shame’ has somehow managed to grow despite promise to self not to buy more books before it has been somewhat reduced. Smiley can wait, he is good at that.