A Delicate Truth, by John le Carré
A Delicate Truth
John Le Carre
This tale of death on the Rock, exacerbated by a cover-up that only makes matters worse, like a clumsy attempt to mop up spilt red wine, is slickly and stylishly told, as one might expect from a master storyteller, but the love- interest subplot is unconvincing. An arrogant, ambitious New Labour minister outsources a mission to US neocons, and it is left to decent types to pick up the pieces and expose the truth. It had me hankering for a novel John le Carré has never written, about the dirty war that Britain’s military and security services fought in the North. This would seem a natural companion piece to his cold-war classics, and this take on Britain’s sidekick role in the war on terror. But it turns out Ireland is a blind spot for this celebrated author. A minor character, Brigid, ex-RUC, describes herself as a “f***ing Prot”, not Prod, and a sentence later reminisces about the North’s “necklace killings”, confusing Soweto and south Armagh. He even has some drunken Irish in Islington singing Amhrán na bhFiann – in English. Come back, Gerald Seymour, all is forgiven.