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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What balderdash was this the detective was talking to him ( boom , boom , he
heard the big drum as the giant lumbered on the scene ) , and why on earth
should the chief of police send to him to find out if his beauty sleep had been
He had often heard people tell him that he possessed character and he reflected
that people judge hastily in the affairs of life because they judge on insufficient
evidence : they had never seen him in a hot , but diminishingly hot , bath .
W. Somerset Maugham. when he heard a knock at the door . Since he did not
want anyone to enter , he had the presence of mind not to say come in , but the
knocking was repeated . ' Who is it ? ' he cried irascibly . ' A letter . * Come in then