Fact is a poor story-teller as Maugham reminds us. Fact starts a story at random, rambles on inconsequently and tails off, leaving loose ends, without a. Ashenden or: the British Agent [W. Somerset Maugham] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. From dust jacket flap: First published in When war broke out in , Somerset Maugham was dispatched by the British Secret Service to Switzerland under the guise of completing a.

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Fasolt handed back the passport to Fafner, who tapped awhenden reflectively with a thick forefinger. Ashenden thought again how he had had the impression that something of real consequence was being prepared round about him. Although Ashenden had seen him now drink nearly a bottle of brandy, and it was probable that he had had a good deal more when he was going about the town, he was certainly quite sober.

She came to dinner at my house. I cannot have my clients disturbed in the middle of the night because a crazy old woman asks for them. Although Ashenden is not an assassin like his fictional son James Bond Ian Fleming got the idea for Agent from this book he is still an astute judge of human character and action and tries to fight for justice.

Once more his eyes were held by those other eyes in which was all that remained alive of that old, old woman. She was a tiny old woman, just a few little bones in a bag of wrinkled skin, and her face was deeply furrowed. This book consists of a handful of interconnected short stories about a British intelligence officer, Ashenden. Ashenden, his common sense protesting, became strangely convinced that she had some secret that she wished to impart to him.

May 18, Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it. You shall ride my best horses, we will go to bull-fights together, and if there are girls you fancy you have only to say the word and you shall have them. On the walls, covered with a dingy paper, were large steel engravings of the battles of Napoleon, and from the ceiling hung an enormous chandelier once used for gas, but now fitted with electric bulbs.

Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham: Book Review

She stopped at Ashenden’s table. She tripped along in very small smart shoes with very high heels. I felt her body stiffen with attention, I was conscious of a flicker of her eyelids, there was something, I hardly knew what, the hand that stroked my face was dry and cold; a sudden suspicion seized me and all at once I remembered what the cards had told me: He did not know whether he would be treated as a political prisoner or as a common criminal and he had a mind to ask Bernard whether in the latter case the only one Bernard was likely to know anything about he would be allowed writing materials.


To spend time in the company of his writing is always a delight and this is a wonderful, charming set of stories — told with typical British reserve — but perhaps even more moving because of the understatement. But of all simple things the only one I can eat day in and day out, not only without disgust but with the eagerness of an appetite unimpaired by excess, is macaroni. Humour As is the way with his class, this aloofness is combined with imperturbable good humour.

He wore a dinner-jacket with a large diamond in his shirt-front and the tarboosh of his country. But she was so beautiful, I turned my face away when I drew the knife with all my strength across her lovely throat.

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 and the criminal brought to justice.

Perfumed like death, his nails painted blood red, and perfectly hairless from heel to crown, this hunk of baroque grotesquerie will give you the heebie-jeebies. 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.

Madame de Higgins went on:. Wshenden, the book could have been far more interesting if Maugham had made Ashenden the narrator.

Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham (1928)

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. The whole business of spying is portrayed as bizarre and cruel, with spies used as pawns and morality a weakness. Oct 14, DeAnna Knippling rated it it was amazing Shelves: He was curious to see how it would go down.

This self-consciousness seems to be an iron rule of the genre.

If he had half a chance he’d seduce your wife, but if you were up against it he’d share his last crust with you. If you never fear a rebuff you will never have one.


Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham

The chapters are collected in later collections under different titles, as below. She was magnificently gowned, but scantily bejewelled, so that Ashenden, who knew something of these matters, concluded that the superior authority had given her carte blanche at a dressmaker’s but had not thought it prudent or necessary to provide her ashemden rings or pearls.

The book is certainly not ‘exciting’ in the way that we have come to expect within the thriller genre. They start magham stop suddenly without a classic climax. This was really an insult to the intelligence. Ashenden was among the last maigham finish and when he left the dining-room it was almost empty. Ashenden had come from Geneva to meet R.

We follow him through France, Switzerland, Italy and Russia, as he uncovers spy networks, accompanies agents to intercept certain documents, tries to trap Indian nationalists and is bored to death by an American businessman on the Trans-Siberian express. The ambassador tells Ashenden how, when he was a young man, he fell in love with a woman unsuitable to his class and career… [blackout] And how he left his true love, married a more appropriate woman, and has naugham it all his life.

Throughout the novel, the morality of Ashenden’s sphere of action becomes increasingly compromised until at the end he arrives at the gates of a newly unstable modern world. Somerset Maugham worked for the security services and this collection of anecdotes is based on his maugahm.

Ashenden – Book Review

That is the way to take a loss. He was by calling a waiter and had found a job in a restaurant near one of the Rhine bridges, which gave him good opportunity to get the information that was required of him. I thought her an angel. His reasons for coming to Switzerland for a few days were plausible and there could apparently be no difficulty in his crossing the frontier on his muagham.

One of the things that had bothered Ashenden was the possibility that he would be arrested before he finished his play. Ashenden kept his eyes open and he was not careless of the possibility that his antagonist might correct the inequalities of chance, but he saw nothing to suggest that everything was not above board.