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 how much must that old woman know ! With her sharp eyes and sharp ears
she must have had the chance to discover matters that were closely hidden from
persons that seemed less insignificant . Ashenden thought again how he had the
Am I not a woman ? It is infamous what you are asking me to do . Infamous . ' She
spoke in a high shrill voice . She went on and on . At last the five minutes were up
. Ashenden had not said a word . He rose . " Yes , go , go , ' she shrieked at ...
on our way back we saw a soldier being rather rough with an old woman . ' '
Rather rough ! ' cried Mr Harrington . “ There was an old woman walking along
the pavement with a basket of provisions on her arm . Two soldiers came up