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A Murder of Quality is the second novel by John le Carré. It follows George Smiley, the most famous of le Carré's recurring characters, in his only book set outside the espionage community.
Ex–undercover agent George Smiley emerges from retirement to solve a baffling, bloody crime. This time it is not a Cold War spy that he is hunting but the solution to the brutal murder of a harmless housewife in the seemingly peaceful setting of a prestigious British boys' school.
It is there, at Carne School, where he becomes entangled with a woman as dangerous as she is charming and with a tottering, brilliant man haunted by a perverse secret of his past. Smiley pursues the murderer amid the hollow pomp and ceremony of the school's establishment, where a man's fate is decided over tea and a sentence of death can be passed out with biscuits and sherry.