John Le Carre

The Naive & Sentimental Lover

UK First Edition Book & Synopsis

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Published 1971 by Hodder & Stoughton
Black cloth, gilt titles
Dust jacket priced at
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John Le Carre

John Le Carre - The Naive & Sentimental Lover

 

SYNOPSIS

LONG ago in a great restaurant an elderly lady had stolen Cassidy's fish. She had been sitting beside him at an adjoining table facing into the room and with one movement she had swept the fish a sole Waleska generously garnished with cheese and assorted sea foods into her open tartan handbag. Her timing was perfect. Cassidy happened to look upward in response to an inner call a girl probably, but perhaps a passing dish which he had almost ordered in preference to his Waleska and when he looked down again the fish had gone and only a pink sludge across the plate, a glutinous trail of cornflour, cheese and particles of shrimp, marked the direction it had taken. His first response was disbelief. He had eaten the fish and in his distraction not even tasted it. But how had he eaten it? the Great Detective asked himself. With his fingers? His knife and fork were clean. The fish was a mirage: the waiter had not yet brought it, Cassidy was looking at the dirty plate left by a guest who had preceded him. Then he saw the tartan handbag. Its handles were clamped tight together, but a tell-tale pink smear was clearly visible on one brass ball of the clasp. Call the waiter, he thought: 'This lady has stolen my fish.' Confront the thief, summon the police, demand that she open her handbag. But her posture of spinsterly composure as she continued to sip her aperitif, one hand curled lightly in her napkin, was too much for him. Signing the bill he quietly left the restaurant, never to return.

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