The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

Elvira Character Analysis

Karl Riemeck’s mistress, Elvira is suspected of having revealed that Riemeck was spying for the British to the East Germans, leading to his assassination by Mundt. Later, she is assassinated in West Berlin. Leamas believes that Mundt must have had her killed, but the fact that she dies in West Berlin suggests that the British were involved in her death.

Elvira Quotes in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The The Spy Who Came in From the Cold quotes below are all either spoken by Elvira or refer to Elvira. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold published in 2013.
Chapter 1 Quotes

That damned woman, thought Leamas, and that fool Karl who'd lied about her. Lied by omission, as they all do, agents the world over. You teach them to cheat, to cover their tracks, and they cheat you as well. He'd only produced her once, after that dinner in the Schürzstrasse last year. Karl had just had his big scoop and Control had wanted to meet him. Control always came in on success. They'd had dinner together—Leamas, Control, and Karl. Karl loved that kind of thing. He turned up looking like a Sunday School boy, scrubbed and shining, doffing his hat and all respectful. Control had shaken his hand for five minutes and said: "I want you to know how pleased we are, Karl, damn pleased." Leamas had watched and thought, "That'll cost us another couple of hundred a year." When they'd finished dinner Control pumped their hands again, nodded significantly and implying that he had to go off and risk his life somewhere else, got back into his chauffeur-driven car.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Karl Riemeck, Control, Elvira
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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Elvira Character Timeline in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The timeline below shows where the character Elvira appears in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Checkpoint
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
...checkpoint, then goes out to talk to the occupant of the car, a woman named Elvira. She tells Leamas that Riemeck escaped arrest in East Berlin and will try to cross... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...on the moment, some months before, when he first discovered that Riemeck had confided in Elvira. Riemeck had had a huge success and Control had come to Berlin to meet him.... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas, who offered Elvira a place to stay at his flat and told her he would bring Riemeck later,... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Circus
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...and the secretaries. Control says it’s a shame that Riemeck was shot, and says that Elvira must have turned him in. Leamas does not ask Control how he knows about Elvira.... (full context)
Chapter 8: Le Mirage
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...when Riemeck was shot. Leamas says Riemeck was likely killed because he told his mistress Elvira so much. (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...files, and Leamas says they didn’t. Peters asks Leamas if he has heard the news: Elvira was shot a week ago as she left her apartment (in West Berlin). Leamas says... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas goes on to wonder about Elvira. Who killed her? He wonders if Control’s Special Interest had known that Elvira knew his... (full context)
Chapter 14: Letter to a Client
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...thinks the flattery went to Riemeck’s head and led to his betraying too much to Elvira. Fiedler says to Leamas that he is beginning to like him, but wonders why he... (full context)