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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He won’t ask you any questions, I can promise you that, I think he’s by way of ashenven a gentleman after his own fashion. Ashemden humanity and compassion come afterwards; Ashenden and Maugham do not act as judge. But I beg you very seriously to have no more anxiety about the outcome of our mission than if you were going for a picnic on the Thames.

The assistant-manager took Ashenden to the door and partly closed it so that those within should not hear his undertones.

Those heavy lids of hers, dark like a grape and faintly humid, those heavy lids of hers closed over her eyes and a little while I knew by the regular movement of her breast against mine that she slept. But Ashenden was surprised to catch sight of Count von Holzminden and wondered what on earth he was doing there.

It was true that he was an important person, with power to make or mar quite a large number of his fellows, and his opinions were listened to by those who held in their hands the fate of empires; but he could never face the business of tipping a waiter without an embarrassment that was obvious in his demeanour. The General opened his bag and took our the bottle.

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Book Review: Ashenden; or, the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham | Kansas City Public Library

And Maugham, the British novelist best known for works such as Of Human Bondage, would have keenly appreciated the administration’s quandary as it seeks to balance privacy with national security. Multilingual and knowledgeable about many European countries, thr was dispatched by the Secret Service to Lucerne – under the guise of completing a play.

Sometimes they give you a character and leave it at that. His features were good, but a little larger than life-size, and his eyes were brown and lustrous.

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

Ashenden, as well as an agent of the British Government, was a humorist, and he stifled the beginnings of a sigh. Somerville understands of course that I have not accepted the mission with which you have entrusted me on account of the money? Somerset Maugham, who actually was a spy in WWII, fictionalized some of his own adventures and recorded them in this book.

Maugham cannot write badly but this book is still structurally an imperfectly strung together group of short stories and novellas.

The night-porter hurried to fetch the assistant-manager and together they had lifted her back into bed. He felt certain that she had something that she wanted urgently to say to him. He could not be ths.

This Week’s Must Read: ‘Ashenden,’ by Somerset Maugham : NPR

Ashenden went back into the room and immediately the dark eyes of the dying woman fixed upon him. The book closes with a tragic satire of two types of bourgeois – the Russian liberal and the American businessman – but there is an unusual generosity of spirit here, as if the confusion of the middle classes in a collapsing West had resulted in a strange camaraderie.

Although Ashenden does not venture into the field of battle, we and his hero are always aware of the soldiers in their trenches and the fact that the outcome of his various missions may result in a firing squad at dawn Ashenden; or, the British Agentby W.


The Hairless Mexican – A Keystone Cop tale with a very stereotyped figure that would fail any ideas of politically correction. Did the Hairless Mexican really believe that he was irresistible or was he merely a blatant liar?

In what manner you get them is no business of his. He was tortured by the fear of making a fool of himself by giving too much or of exciting the waiter’s icy scorn by giving too little. The material it offers for stories is scrappy and pointless; the author has himself to make it coherent, dramatic and probable.

Very clever literary spy tale, built up out of shorter pieces and nominally drawn from stories Maugham heard or experienced during his own time with the British secret service during the Great War. If you never fear a rebuff you will never have one. Ashenden lay back, and as his body grew used to the heat of the water gave a sigh of satisfaction.

On the house at which Ashenden had been asked to call there was a board up to announce that it was for sale, the shutters ashennden closed and there was no sign that anyone lived in it. These Orientals, they are always giving trouble. Return to Book Page.

Chris 10 March at Somerville would take charge of it.