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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I who have taken pleasure in clasping a diamond bracelet round the wrist of a beautiful woman have been forced to accept a suit of clothes from a hag old enough to be my mother. My emotion was so terrific that I thought I should fall down and die. I went to Petrograd from Vladivostock.

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Once Ashenden, going along a corridor, had come upon the elder of the two fat princesses berating the governess in French with a violence that took his breath away. Perhaps that is the real virtue of the book – out of conventional, even theatrical, tales of duty, courage and treachery, he teases out an underlying human reality. I am afraid he will be exceedingly displeased. Especially since Morgan thinks Maugham had offered them to magazines for publication.

Ashenden thought again how he had had the impression that something of real consequence was being prepared round about him. Sooner or later Italy is bound to come into the war on the side of the Allies and I shall be released.

To cut a long story short, he took her back to his hotel—of course it was a very imprudent thing to britjsh when he came to himself in the morning the lady and the dispatch-case had disappeared. Not all agen cases are successful, one is a failure, one a partial success, one goes completely to plan and the last, where the result is a matter of public record, is told as a perfect novel in miniature.


A Swiss family who knows, perhaps Robinson by nameconsisting of a father and mother and four children, were sitting round a table making the best of two small cups of coffee. The assistant stationmaster led them along the train and xgent them in an empty compartment where there were two beds.

Ashenden handed the man the nice new passport which gave no information about his movements other than that he had come from London three months before and had since then crossed no frontier. Ashenden; or, the British Agent by W. Soon after midnight, a rubber having been finished, the Prince rose from the table. Ashenden had no friends in Geneva. The reader will know that my efforts did not ashendwn with success.

Does that suit you? If it is your own money I do not want to win any more of it. Lists with This Book. He also explains that these stories do not follow traditional tales. He put it to his lips and had a long drink, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and lit a ashenedn.

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

Ashenden suffered from that distressing malady known as train fever; an hour before his train was due he began to have apprehensions lest he should miss it; he was impatient with the porters who would never bring his luggage down from his room axhenden time and he could not understand why the hotel bus cut it so fine; a block in the street would drive him to frenzy and the languid movements of the station porters infuriate him. In the morning La Marqueza brought me in return for my ring—a red carnation.

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Then he got a bottle of eau-de-Cologne from his bag, poured some of it on a towel and rubbed it over his face and hands. He wished to give himself a moment to think, but as he ascended the three flights slowly his feet were like lead. Ashenden travels within Europe based on whatever task R. He shuffled them again. She slipped the note into his hand when he was given change for ten francs and he sauntered away. He was not quite sure, but it seemed to him that he hesitated.


He had half a mind to turn tail and walk out of the hotel, leaving everything behind him; he had his passport in his pocket and he knew by heart the hours at which trains started for the frontier: Ashenden, frowning a little, watched him reflectively. They were hard and cruel eyes, and very wary; and they gave him a cunning, shifty look.

He took pains to be extremely civil to Ashenden. It should not wander along an uncertain line, but follow, from exposition to climax, a bold and vigorous curve.

Ashenden: or, The British Agent

There’s something about you that they can’t resist. Here we have the sophisticated multi-lingual Englishman of good breeding fighting those Axis birtish during the First World War.

The tall man looked at his watch. I’ve never seen a better bit of steel in my life, it takes an edge like a razor and it’s strong; you can cut a cigarette-paper ashendem it and you can hew down an oak. And there she lay powerless to speak. There were from twenty to thirty. He’s an amusing cove when he gets going, ashendfn I think you ought to get to know one another. All were very good – he’s now one of my favourite writers.

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