He wrote only one book that was not of this character. It was a collection of essays that he had contributed to the solid magazines of the day and he issued it, as became his sense of decorum, anonymously. I once had the book in my hands, a handsome volume bound in calf, but I never read it and I have not been able to get hold of a copy since. I wish I had, for I might have learnt from it something of the kind of man he was. His elder brother, Viscount Maugham , did become a lawyer, enjoying a distinguished legal career and serving as Lord Chancellor from to

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List of works by W. Somerset Maugham

My site uses cookies. By continuing to use the site you consent to that. Note: Ashenden consists of a series of short stories, each one or two chapters long. When she has a near-fatal stroke she summons him, intent on a deathbed confession… [blackout]But, due to her stroke, she is unable to convey whatever information she has to Ashenden and dies before morning. But when the Indian finally arrives, he takes poison rather than fall into British hands. 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 regretted it all his life.


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It is also the work of a writer who had the knack for creating a vivid character in few words, and then allowing that character to reveal his storyand usually more of himself than he would wishto the attentive reader. It is also the work of a writer who had the knack for creating a vivid character in few words, and then allowing that character to reveal his story—and usually more of himself than he would wish—to the attentive reader. Maugham—both in this book and in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of his short stories—was a great influence on spy novelists in general and on Eric Ambler in particular, whose masterpiece A Coffin for Dimitrios would not have been the same without Maugham. Harrington, the forthright and foolhardy American seeking business contacts within the new revolutionary Russian government. In fact, there are so many different locales, so many colorful people participating in so many unconnected stratagems, revealing themselves in so many distinct conversations, that it would not be surprising if a reader concluded that Ashenden was no more than a collection of themed short stories printed in chapters to make it look like a novel. This particular reader, however, thinks it qualifies as a novel.


W. Somerset Maugham



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