The Constant Gardener is of a piece with The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, a hilarious, revisionist version of the children's story that casts the pig as the villain and has him pulling out C-4 explosives and a pneumatic drill to bring down homes. The premise of The Constant Gardener is that drug makers will exploit poor Africans to test an improved drug for tuberculosis. Rich countries, which are terrified by the boom in multidrug-resistant cases of the disease, will then line up to get the drug, making it what le Carré calls a "multibillion-dollar earner." In fact, in 2004, the number of TB cases in the United States was lower than at any time since national record-keeping began more than 50 years ago, with only 124 multidrug-resistant cases. As a result, TB remains a lousy drug market, and drug companies have shown such little interest in pursuing new medications for the disease that a nonprofit, the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, now tries to partner with industry to develop promising drug candidates. Also, pharmaceutical companies don't hire hit men to whack their enemies. They do battle with armies of suits who wield pockets full of cash, patents, and legal briefs.