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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He walked ahead of his wife , and of her Ashenden only caught the impression of
a German woman selfeffaced and dusty . Grantley Caypor sat down and began in
a loud voice explaining to the waitress that they had taken an immense walk .
My wife and I never discuss the war , though I ' m bound to tell you that it ' s more
on my account than hers , she ' s much more tolerant than I am and she ' s more
willing to look upon this terrible business from my point of view than I am from ...
I ' ve been to Geneva . ' ' So I heard , ' said Ashenden . * Come and have your
coffee with me . My poor wife ' s got a headache . I told her she ' d better go and
lie down . ' In his shifty green eyes was an expression that Ashenden could not