(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Justin Quayle is a British diplomat, a member of Her Majesty’s foreign service, stationed in Nairobi, Kenya. Middle-aged and upper-middle-class, Quayle personifies Britain’s traditional political and social establishment, and while conscientious enough in his professional duties, he devotes his free time to his garden, cultivating temperate flowers which grow well in Kenya’s highlands. His much younger wife, Tess, is the opposite, a crusading lawyer who is very much the antiestablishment figure. Empathizing with the majority of Africans—poor and black—she is deeply committed to social justice. With Arnold Bluhm, a Belgium African doctor, she discovers that a major Swiss pharmaceutical firm, amorally pursuing profits, had, in connivance with other business interests and the Kenyan government, embarked on a campaign to distribute Dypraxa, a new antitubercular drug, to Africa’s poor. The drug, while promising in the long run, has been released without sufficient testing and even with willfully inaccurate tests, and Africa’s poor are to be the guinea pigs. Too many political and economic interests are threatened by Tess and Arnold’s exposures, and they are brutally murdered. Justin is apparently intentionally unaware of the extent of Tess’s involvement, spending his time tilling his garden.

British officials, such as Sandy Woodrow in Kenya and Sir Bernard Pellegrin in London, while superficially sympathetic to Justin’s loss, do not want to jeopardize Britain’s political influence or economic position in Africa and refuse to become involved in Tess’s murder....

(The entire section is 649 words.)

The Constant Gardener Bibliography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Aronoff, Myron Joel. The Spy Novels of John le Carré: Balancing Ethics and Politics. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998.

Barley, Tony. Taking Sides: The Fiction of John le Carré. Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press, 1986.

Beene, Lynn Dianne. John le Carré. New York: Twayne, 1992.

Bold, Alan, ed. The Quest for le Carré. London: Vision Press, 1988.

Bruccoli, Matthew J., and Judith S. Baughman, eds. Conversations with John le Carré. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2004.

Cobbs, John L. Understanding John le Carré. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1998.

Hindersmann, Jost. “’The Right Side Lost but the Wrong Side Won’: John le Carré’s Spy Novels Before and After the End of the Cold War.” CLUES: A Journal of Detection 23, no. 4 (Summer, 2005): 25-37.

Hoffman, Tod. Le Carré s Landscapes. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001.

Homberger, Eric. John le Carré. London: Methuen, 1986.

Knightley, Phillip. The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century. New York: W. W. Norton, 1986.

Lewis, Peter. John le Carré. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1985.

Monaghan, David. The Novels of John le Carré. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, 1985.

Monaghan, David. Smiley’s Circus: A Guide to the Secret World of John le Carré. London: Orbis, 1986.

Wolfe, Peter. Corridors of Deceit: The World of John le Carré. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1987.