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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Miss King ' s room was two floors higher than Ashenden ' s , and as he
accompanied the chamber - maid along the corridor and up the stairs he asked
her what was the matter with the old governess . She was flurried and stupid . ' I
think she ...
... matter up with the Administration in Washington . ' Mr Harrington ' s manner
was so truculent and his gestures so menacing that the stationmaster , throwing
up the sponge , turned on his heel without another word and walked moodily
She was bleeding dreadfully and we had some difficulty in staunching the blood .
' 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 ...