The Tailor of Panama

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The Tailor of Panama
The Tailor of Panama - bookcover .jpeg
Softcover edition
Author John le Carré
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Spy novel
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton (UK); Alfred A. Knopf (US)
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 332
ISBN 0679454462
Preceded by Our Game
Followed by Single & Single

The Tailor of Panama is a 1996 novel by John le Carré.[1][2] A 2001 film was released based on the novel.


Harry Pendel is a British expatriate living in Panama City and running his own successful bespoke tailoring business Pendel and Braithwaite. His wife and kids are unaware that almost every detail of his life is fabricated, including his former partner, Mr Braithwaite. In reality, Harry Pendel is an ex-convict who learnt tailoring in prison.

Andy Osnard is a young British MI6 agent sent to Panama to recruit agents to gather intelligence and protect British trade interests through the canal. However, Andy has his own agenda and, after he discovers Harry's past, sees the perfect opportunity to recruit a new agent and extort money from the British government. Concocting a fictitious network of revolutionaries, known as the silent opposition, Harry, through Andy, manages to gain the intrigue of the British secret services and U.K and even U.S. governments. However, Harry has used his own friends as the basis for his fantasies and as the plots are taken more seriously they become known to the Panamanian authorities and Harry struggles to cope with the guilt of setting them up. Harry's wife, Louisa, becomes suspicious of the amount of time he spends with Andy and suspects that Harry is having an affair. She breaks into his office and discovers all his fantastic lies. Harry's friend, Mickie, kills himself rather than face the risk of going back to jail and Harry helps dispose of the body, making it look like he was executed. As Mickie is the supposed leader of the silent opposition, the U.K. and U.S. governments use this as an excuse to topple the current Panamanian government. At the end of the book the U.S. military has begun another invasion of Panama, based largely on Harry's fabrications and Harry watches the destruction from the window of his house.


  1. ^ "The Taylor of Panama by John le Carré". Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  2. ^