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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The Mexican gave them a glance . . ' I had them manicured this morning . I do not
think they were very well done . I like my nails much more highly polished . ' They
were cut to a point , stained bright red , and to Ashenden ' s mind shone like ...
Ashenden gave the postcard to an agent who was waiting to take it to Pontarlier
and then made his way along the crowded train to his sleeping - car . It was bright
and sunny , though cold , next morning when they reached their destination .
It was a block of flats that gave you the impression of decent poverty and
Ashenden conjectured that they were inhabited by clerks and small tradespeople
. Just inside the door was a cobbler ' s shop and Ashenden stopped . ' Does Herr