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 sat by the bedside and again his eyes met Miss King’s. Ashenden, as well as an agent of the British Government, was a humorist, and he stifled the beginnings of a sigh. As he was about to leave this officer came up to him and asked:. The notion was mysterious, but diverting, and as Ashenden played one rubber after another, joining in the incessant conversation, he watched britisg was said by himself no less closely than what was said by the others.

He touched them one by one but did not turn them wshenden. Harrington, he is quite a conversationalist. He had begun by taking off his hat when he met her, and she had given him a stiff bow, then he had addressed her and she had answered with such brevity that it was evident that she wished to have nothing much to do with him. Perhaps at the moment of death a love for her country, a love that had been dead for half a century, awakened again in her— “I’m silly to fancy these idiotic things,” thought Ashenden, “it’s cheap and tawdry fiction” —and she had been seized with a desire to do something for what was after all her own.

Ashenden: or, The British Agent

Well, a day or two after he arrived he picked up a yellow-haired lady at some restaurant or other where there was dancing, and he got very friendly with sshenden.

Ashenden, like Maugham himself, is a writer drafted into the Secret Service but his job is more one of observation than of danger or action.


He was concerned with the beginning or the end of it, perhaps, or with some incident in the middle, but what his own doings led to he had seldom a chance of discovering. 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 went to the market about nine when the housewives of Geneva for the most part had done their provisioning, stopped in front of the basket by the side of which, rain or wind, hot or cold, sat that indomitable creature and bought half a pound of butter.

In one, he accompanies a man called the Hairless Mexican to Italy, where they are to intercept important papers carried by an arriving Greek agent of the Germans.

The 20 best spy novels of all time

All Ashenden had to do then was to scribble a number on a sheet of paper and post it. The baroness’s heart was in England whence her family the britidh from Yorkshire had sprung and the Pasha looked upon Paris as his spiritual home. She said that the girl was not an inmate, but came there only from time to time and had left. He intrigues the reader or makes one laugh.

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

They were Prince Ali sshenden his secretary. Ashenden lay back, and as his britush grew used to the heat of the water gave a sigh of satisfaction. It has been adapted as a play and aget several films. He did not like the notion of abandoning his job so easily, he had been sent to Geneva, knowing the risks, to do work of a certain kind, and it seemed to him that he had better go through with it. They seldom return to the hotel till dawn.

To think that these stories were penned almost a hundred years ago ashendden still resonate so well While he waited for his dinner to be served, Ashenden cast his eyes over the company. Because this is a WW1 spy story, I have shelved it under thriller-suspense but it is not actually either thrilling nor suspenseful.


Published July 6th by Vintage Classics first published The German agent could not be quite sure of it and if he suspected it might rack his brains to discover what mystery it portended.

Ashenden accompanied him to the door and as he shook hands the doctor gave his prognosis in a pout of his bearded mouth. But if they were under the impression that they would get any information out of him that they ageht not already seen in the Swiss papers he had a notion that they were mistaken.

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

He’s an agent of Enver Pasha and Enver has great confidence in him. His self-complacency was magnificent. The Greek – final part of the Hairless Mexican tale.

Aug 21, Dfordoom rated it it was amazing Shelves: You will go far in life. I accepted with a shrug of the shoulders. Ashenden looked at them for the faint smile that he thought his remark deserved, but their countenances remained stolid.

They wanted a painter to be no more than an btitish and a hand.

For an instant Ashenden was dumbfounded. Spies are spies, from generation to generation. I am afraid I could not travel in that. Sometimes they give you a character and leave it at that. If not, there’s a book project for someone. Find your brigish great read Digital Branch.

They really like to cover the bases.

I was madly in love with her. A small band of us had got together and made up our minds that we could no longer put up with the misrule from which we were suffering. At that juncture it was imprudent to ascribe any occurrence, however accidental it looked, to the hazard of coincidence.