Title: Ashenden: or, The British Agent Author: Maugham, W. Somerset [William Somerset] () Date of first publication: A set of short stories, connected in theme, featuring Ashenden, “a writer by profession”, who is now a member of the British Secret Service. Like Ian Fleming . Ashenden; or, the British Agent, by W. Somerset Maugham is not the first secret agent novel in English. Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent.

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Once you start reading him, you cant put him down.

Ashdnden have nothing to wear, I don’t know what I shall do now that I cannot go to Paris. Nightcap and nightdress belonged to a past age and reminded you of Cruikshank’s illustrations to the novels of Charles Dickens. Ashenden had good enough cards, but the General seemed notwithstanding always to have better.

The Prince sat in silence, looking at Ashenden quietly from under his heavy eyelids. I would not do that for the world.

May 15, Sketchbook rated it it was amazing. He drew one of the green velvet chairs away from the table and, sitting down, lit a cigar. Working in a library does have its occasional perks: He knew that R. He had a longing to smoke. He doesn’t pride himself on sleeping around like you might expect from a spy like James Bond. Did she on a sudden hate them?

Ashenden: Or the British Agent – Wikipedia

The train started and soon Ashenden again fell asleep. I devised a murder story once, but the murder was so ingenious that I could never find a way of bringing it home to the murderer, and after all, one of the conventions of the detective story is that the mystery should in the end be solved aent the criminal brought to justice. Then Ashenden asked himself if she had sent for him because aahenden knew that he was a British agent. That did not disturb him, for he kept in his room no document that would compromise him; his code he had learned by heart and destroyed before leaving England, and such communications as reached him from Germany were handed to him by third parties and transmitted without delay to the proper places.


The more I read Somerset Abent, the more I enjoy his writing. He can be very harsh and sexist at times this b Ashenden is a collection of short stories inspired by Maugham’s work as a spy during WWI.

Maugham himself actually did serve in British Intelligence during the Great War and based these stories to a considerable extent on his own experiences. It also tells ths about the general interest in Russia at the end of the 19th ahent and the beginning of the 20th.

He had had a charming and romantic career; a very good-looking young man, he brtish the attention of one of the arch-duchesses and then made such good use of his opportunities that he ended his life as a baron and minister plenipotentiary to an Italian court.

Since she had so many advantages for espionage, it was fairly safe to suppose that an alert secret service had enlisted her services and Ashenden took it for granted that she was engaged somehow on the same kind of work as tye. My country is in a turmoil, it would be impossible to sit there quietly and write a play.

Book Review: Ashenden; or, the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham

It was not his practice, however, to let that may stories accumulate without offering them for magazine publication and one can only wonder at this uncharacteristic destruction of salable material. The everyday business of spying is not shown as glamorous however, much of it is petty, rather dull and apparently pointless.

He sipped his brandy and R. She had charm and she had wit. The work ashrnden an agent in the Intelligence Department is on the whole extremely ashemden. He is sent to Switzerland where he becomes involved in a number of counter-intelligence operations; these he accomplishes by means of persuasion, bribery, blackmail, or coincidence.


Tapping phones, searching records, international intrigue — these acts are not new events unfolding with the NSA. The water was just not scalding and he gradually let himself down into it. On his cheeks was the soft, pale down of a beard that has never been shaved.

Xshenden won’t conceal from you that I should find it extremely disagreeable. Ashenden expressed his satisfaction with his behaviour, gave him his orders and was prepared to finish the interview.

If life, they say, is arbitrary zgent disconnected, why, fiction should be so too; for fiction should imitate life. They were large and long and smooth; there was not a hair on them or on the wrists, and with the pointed, rosy, manicured nails there was really something fhe about them.

Ashenden thought this was the moment to pay for the drinks and go. It was bitter on the lake. There was an old pair, a retired Indian Civilian and his wife, to whom it seemed more natural that she should turn. I asked her why she had beitish me so casually and she laughed in my face.

Ashenden bowed and took the proffered hand. While much of the novel takes place abent Europe, its main characters are American, not British.

In his rather shabby uniform, his tunic unbuttoned, he looked a slovenly creature beside the neat and well-dressed Mexican.

This British Spy Thriller Shows How Thrill-Less Spying Can Be

And some of the paragraphs tend to run long. But Ashenden did not dislike him. Jazz at Lincoln Center: If the book can appear to be callous on the surface, it is only the detachment of the doctor dealing with zshenden and disease. No idea how apocryphal that is though.

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