Dead or alive? For Adam Sisman, who has written two biographies on spy novelist David Cornwell (John le Carré), the dead have the edge. They can’t second guess you, but then you can’t check stuff with them once they’ve gone. Sisman had the privilege of both, if it could be called a privilege.

“It’s a gift to have the author available to answer questions,” says Sisman. “And that’s very helpful.”..

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