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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But she was so beautiful , I turned my face away when I drew the knife with all my
strength across her lovely throat . Without awaking she passed from sleep to
death . ' He stopped and stared frowning at the four cards that still lay , their backs
Then he turned to the orderly . ' I don ' t want to be disturbed . ' The secretary , a
second - lieutenant in the thirties , obviously a civilian with a temporary
commission , gathered up a mass of papers and left the room . As the orderly was
When he put it in the Indian ' s hand he turned frightfully pale ( ' I should never
have thought an Indian could turn that colour , ' he said ) , and turned it over and
over in his hand as though he could not understand what his own letter was