The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), by John le Carré is a Cold War spy novel famous for its intricate plot and its portrait of the West's espionage methods as inconsistent with Western values. In 1965, Martin Ritt directed a cinematic adaptation, with Richard Burton as protagonist Alec Leamas, British secret agent.
The novel received excellent reviews and was a best selling book; in 2006, Publishers Weekly named it "best spy novel of all-time".
Le Carré's book won a 1963 Gold Dagger award from the British Crime Writers Association for Best Crime Novel. Two years later the US edition was awarded the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Mystery Novel. It was the first work to win the award for Best Novel from both mystery writing organizations.
In 2005, the fiftieth anniversary of the Dagger Awards, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was awarded the "Dagger of Daggers," a one-time only award given to the Golden Dagger winner regarded as the stand-out among all fifty winners over the history of CWA. Also that year, the novel was selected as one of the "All-TIME 100 Novels" by TIME Magazine.