By Charles Winecoff
Updated January 05, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

The 18th novel by le Carre (The Russia House) centers on the brutal murder of the free-spirited, radical wife of a British diplomat in Kenya. In its aftermath, everyone struggles to maintain a stiff upper lip — including the victim’s mousy spouse and a fellow bureaucrat who happens to have been having an affair with her. When the grieving husband delves into his wife’s activities and finds evidence of foul play, he throws diplomacy to the wind to continue her crusade against a nefarious drug company, getting closer to her posthumously than he ever had during their marriage. Though it can be predictable and talky, le Carre’s narrative nonetheless illuminates the tangle of hypocrisy, politics, and passion roiling beneath that steadfast British restraint. B

The Constant Gardener

  • Movie
  • R
  • 128 minutes
  • Fernando Meirelles