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A Small Town in Germany

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Language  English
Pages  304 pp
OCLC  887880
Author  John le Carré
Publisher  Heinemann
Preceded by  The Looking Glass War
3.8/5 Goodreads

Publication date  October 1968
ISBN  0-434-10930-4
Originally published  October 1968
Genre  Thriller
Country  United Kingdom
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Media type  Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Similar  John le Carré books, Novels

David harewood reads from john le carr s a small town in germany

A Small Town in Germany is a 1968 espionage novel by British author John le Carré. It is set in Bonn, the "small town" of the title, against a background of concern that former Nazis were returning to positions of power in West Germany.



Bonn, the eponymous small town, was chosen as West Germany's capital after World War II mainly due to the advocacy of Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany after World War II.

Plot summary

A Small Town in Germany is set in the late 1960s, in Bonn, the capital of West Germany. From London, Alan Turner, of the British Foreign Office, arrives to investigate the disappearance of Leo Harting, a minor British Embassy officer; moreover, secret files have disappeared with him. The embassy's head of Chancery, Rawley Bradfield, is hostile to Turner's investigation. Despite that, he is dinner party host to Turner and Ludwig Siebkron, head of the German Interior Ministry; the latter is close to industrialist Klaus Karfeld, who is successfully building his new political party.

Initially, Turner suspects Leo Harting is a spy, but comes to understand that Harting was secretly investigating Karfeld's Nazi career — as the war-time administrator of a laboratory that poisoned 31 half-Jews. In fact, Harting is hiding from Siebkron, and might assassinate Karfeld. To Turner's chagrin, Bradfield is unsympathetic to Harting's circumstance and uninterested in protecting him, because he considers him a criminal and a political embarrassment.

Major characters

  • Rawley Bradfield - Head of Chancery at the British Embassy in Bonn
  • Leo Harting – long-term temporary employee at the British Embassy
  • Alan Turner – British Foreign Office official
  • Ludwig Siebkron – German Interior Ministry official
  • Klaus Karfeld – German industrialist and politician with a hidden Nazi past
  • Trivia

  • The Economics Minister at the Bonn embassy was James Marjoribanks. One of the characters in Le Carré's book is also called Marjoribanks.
  • Release details

  • 1968, UK, William Heinemann, ISBN 0-434-10930-4, October 1968, Hardback
  • 1970, UK, Pan, ISBN 0-330-02306-3, 3 July 1970, Paperback
  • References

    A Small Town in Germany Wikipedia

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