Excerpt from The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Constant Gardener

by John Le Carre

The Constant Gardener
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Dec 2000, 496 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2001, 576 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Oasis, this is the British High Commission in Nairobi, I'm passing you to Sandy Woodrow. Over."

Woodrow leaned both hands on Donohue's desk in order to come closer to the microphone.

"This is Woodrow, Head of Chancery. Am I speaking to Wolfgang? Over."

"Chancellery like Hitler had one?"

"The political section. Over."

"OK, Mr. Chancery, I'm Wolfgang. What's your question? Over."

"I want you to give me, please, your own description of the woman who checked into your hotel as Miss Tessa Abbott. That's correct, is it? That's what she wrote? Over."

"Sure. Tessa."

"What did she look like? Over."

"Dark hair, no makeup, tall, late twenties, not British. Not for me. South German, Austrian or Italian. I'm a hotelier. I look at people. And beautiful. I'm a man too. Sexy like an animal, how she moves. And clothes like you could blow them off. That sound like your Abbott or somebody else's? Over."

Donohue's head was a few inches from his own. Sheila was standing at his other side. All three of them were gazing at the microphone.

"Yes. That sounds like Miss Abbott. Can you tell me, please: when did she make the reservation at your hotel, and how? I believe you have an office in Nairobi. Over."

"She didn't."

"I'm sorry?"

"Dr. Bluhm made the reservation. Two persons, two cabins close to the pool, one night. We've only got one cabin free, I tell him. OK, he'll take it. That's some fellow. Wow. Everybody looks at them. The guests, the staff. One beautiful white woman, one beautiful African doctor. That's a nice sight. Over."

"How many rooms does a cabin have?" Woodrow asked, feebly hoping to head off the scandal that was staring him in the face.

"One bedroom, two single beds, not too hard, nice and springy. One sitting room. Everybody signs the register here. No funny names, I tell them. People get lost, I got to know who they are. So that's her name, right? Abbott? Over."

"Her maiden name. Over. The PO box number she gave is the High Commission."

"Where's the husband?"

"Here in Nairobi."

"Oh boy."

"So when did Bluhm make the reservation? Over."

"Thursday. Thursday evening. Radios me from Loki. Tells me they expect to leave Friday first light. Loki like Lokichoggio. On the northern border. Capital of the aid agencies working South Sudan. Over."

"I know where Lokichoggio is. Did they say what they were doing there?"

"Aid stuff. Bluhm's in the aid game, right? That's the only way you get to Loki. Works for some Belgian medical outfit, he told me. Over."

"So he booked from Loki and they left Loki on Friday morning early. Over."

"Tells me they expect to reach the west side of the lake around noon. Wants me to fix them a boat to bring them across the lake to the Oasis. 'Listen,' I tell him. 'Lokichoggio to Turkana, that's a hairy drive. Best you ride with a food convoy. The hills are lousy with bandits, there's tribes stealing each other's cattle, which is normal, except that ten years ago they had spears and today they all got AK47s.' He laughs. Says he can handle it. And he can. They make it, no problem. Over."

"So they check in, then sign the register. Then what? Over."

"Bluhm tells me they want a jeep and a driver to go up to Leakey's place first light next morning. Don't ask me why he didn't mention it when he booked, I didn't ask him. Maybe they only just decided. Maybe they didn't like to discuss their plans over the radio. 'OK,' I tell him. 'You're lucky. You can have Noah.' Bluhm's pleased. She's pleased. They walk in the garden, swim together, sit at the bar together, eat together, tell good night to everybody, go to their cabin. In the morning they leave together. I watch them. You want to know what they had for breakfast?"

Copyright © 2001 by David Cornwell.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.