John le Carré
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
(Hodder & Stoughton, 1974)
Some years ago, the London branch of an American investment bank was busy ‘migrating’ financial data from one computer to another. In the process, it made the distressing discovery that erroneous information some years earlier had led the bank to believe it was a million or more pounds better off than was, in fact, the case.
I wrote a line or two in the Guardian suggesting that everyone would have been a lot happier had the data stayed on the old computer and the discrepancy never been discovered. The bank could have continued acting richer than it actually was, to the benefit of staff and shareholders.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opens with MI6 (‘the Circus’) on a roll. An exhausted and scandal-ridden old regime has been replaced with dynamic new management that has signed up a solid-gold top-category Soviet…
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