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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However, the typography was very tiny. Sometimes by arriving at the station too soon he had caught an earlier train than the one he had meant to, but that was nerve-racking and caused him all the anguish agenr very nearly missing it. I shall have the body removed the first possible moment and I shall be extremely obliged if you will not say that there has been a death.

Ashenden: or, The British Agent

aggent He’s quite a character, isn’t he? Even though occasions of racism and sexims can be found in this book, they are mostly not coming from Ashenden, but rather making him quite uncomfortable.

But when Miss King passed him on her way out of the dining-room it seemed to Ashenden that her mask of a face scowled. The telephone had fallen too. They arrived at Miss King’s door and the maid knocked.

I had to go to Vevey to-day to see an invalid friend and I came back by boat. The Hairless Mexican was a tall man, and though thinnish gave you the impression of being very powerful; he was smartly dressed in a blue serge suit, with a silk handkerchief neatly tucked in the breast pocket of his coat, and he wore a gold bracelet on his wrist. He knew that he did not make this remark for nothing. The prospect of spending an evening by himself with his pipe and a book was so agreeable that it made the misery of that journey across the lake positively worth while.


He touched them one by one but did not turn them up. It increased if anything the cordiality of his relations with her. I do not know where they are and in any case they would not thank me for dragging them away from their diversions, because their governess has had a stroke, I know what they are. She wore a large white cotton night-cap on entering Ashenden had noticed the brown wig on a stand on the dressing-table tied under the chin and a white, voluminous nightdress that came high up in the neck.

It is strange how empty their paintings look now when you place them beside the stately pictures of Claude.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. It is basically a series of vignettes, with Ashenden involved in a number of brtish for the Secret Service.

Love and Russian Literature – We get a glimpse of some passion in Ashenden’s past.

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

It also tells us about the general interest in Russia at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. You’d better carry it on your person. Maugham himself actually did serve in British Intelligence during the Great War and based these stories to a considerable extent on his own experiences. They came up empty-handed. Just as passion will make use brazenly of the hackneyed phrase, so will chance show itself insensitive to the triteness of the literary convention.


Either somebody’s being overly cautious and bureaucratic which is not that hard to believe of ‘intelligence’ in this day and age or else Maugham may have been overly modest about his contribution to the service. The baroness gave him a flashing, brilliant smile. The shops were closed and Ashenden passed only an occasional pedestrian who sidled along, scrunched up, as though he fled from the blind wrath of the unknown.

Ashenden, standing in front of the fire to warm himself, a cigarette between his lips, made no reply.

Ashenden: Or the British Agent – Wikipedia

In the anthology film TrioAshenden was played by Roland Culver in the third story called Sanatorium. But if he was your wife’s lover, or your brother, or had cheated or insulted you, then a scrap of paper, a bit of string or a chance remark would be enough to hang you. She never spoke anything but French. But you are quite right, we do not want to take any risks; I will give you my knife as well.

Somerville understands of course that I have not accepted the mission with which you have entrusted me on account of the money?

He rang the bell and the door was opened by a non-commissioned officer so promptly that he was startled.