This fascinating book contains probably the most expert stories of espionage ever written. For a period of time after it was first published, the book became official required reading for persons entering the British Secret Service.
During World War I, Maugham enlisted with an ambulance unit, but was soon shifted to the Intelligence Department. Although these stories were based on the author's own experiences as a British agent during the war, he emphasized that they were written purely as entertainment, at which, indeed, Ashenden succeeds. Maugham's clarity of style, the perfection of his form, the subtlety of his thought, veiled thinly behind a worldly cynicism, has made him an international figure.
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Rather rough ! ' cried Mr Harrington . “ There was an old woman walking along
the pavement with a basket of provisions on her arm . Two soldiers came up
behind her and one of them snatched the basket from her and walked off with it .
Anastasia Alexandrovna gave Mr Harrington an odd look and to his surprise
Ashenden saw him turn scarlet . " What ' s the matter now ? ' " You see , we had
nothing to bind her up with . Mr Harrington ' s handkerchief was soaked . There
It seemed to Ashenden that there was something in her that responded to Mr
Harrington ' s futile obstinacy . In her Russian way she understood that Mr
Harrington could not leave Petrograd without his washing . His insistence had
given it the ...