A Murder of Quality is the second novel of John le Carré. It offers a satirical look at an elite private school as it chronicles the early development of George Smiley. Miss Ailsa Brimley is in a quandary. She's received a peculiar letter from Mrs. Stella Rode, saying that she fears her husband, an assistant master at Carne School, is trying to kill her. Reluctant to go to the police, Miss Brimley calls upon her old wartime colleague, George Smiley. Unfortunately, it's too late. Mrs. Rode has just been murdered. As Smiley takes up the investigation, he realizes that in life, as in espionage, nothing is quite what it appears.
This is the second of the George Smiley books of John le Carré, the first being Call for the Dead. Some observations: George Smiley is the antithesis of the James Bond character of Ian Fleming. (I've never read the James Bond books, but I'm assuming the movies pretty much mirror the books.) James Bond is a glib, one-dimensional, womanizing cardboard character. George Smiley, on the other hand, is a quiet, shy, unprepossessing, unpretentious, two-dimensional character. Several of the John le Carré books have been adapted into books. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has been adapted into both a movie and a television miniseries. These adaptions, in my opinion, have been high quality ones. A final observation I would have is that the John le Carré books all have interesting titles: Call for the Dead, A Murder of Quality, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Looking Glass War, and so on.