This is a collage of old tales an ageing spy tells his students before his retirement. Unfortunately the stories were told in the first person voice from a perspective I never connected with. Despite his best efforts, le Carré couldn’t make me care about Ned, not even when he was reminiscing with Smiley. Smiley made a cameo and nothing more. I might have found a couple of the spy tales themselves interesting, but they always ended and a new chapter began just as I started paying attention. Someone else might think the description of a hardened spook letting go of his secrets and learning to live in a post cold war world is compelling in itself, but for me it simply wasn’t enough.