Mme Ostrakova was desperate to believe the sweating Russian who promised the return of her daughter; then there was the Paris letter which rang old bells for General Vladimir; these two events summoned master spy George Smiley from retirement.
After Vladimir's death, Smiley makes inquiries among a number of Russian exiles in London, and uncovers the negative of an astonishing photograph.
Vladimir has two proofs, but Smiley has only found one; it was an erotic photograph of Otto Leipzig, the General's lieutenant; now aware that Vladimir has quarrelled with his postman Toby Esterhase, Smiley plans to visit old friends.
Smiley gets into trouble with his superiors, who want the investigation closed, but he finally encounters the woman and gets her account.
Otto Leipzig is dead, but after Kirov's confession, the trail becomes clearer, and Smiley finds himself travelling to Switzerland.
With information gained from Russian ambassador Grigoriev and a meeting with the elusive Alexandra, the scene is set for Smiley's final confrontation with his arch enemy, Karla.
© 1982 BBC
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