Ashenden or The British Agent - William Somerset Maugham 1928 - William Heinemann, London - First Edition An attractively bound copy of Somerset Maugham's highly influential collection of espionage thrillers based on his own experiences in British Intelligence during the First World War, inspiring many later writers in the genre including Ian Fleming, John Le Carre, Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, Len Deighton among others.

A Haycraft-Queen cornerstone book. Two of the stories in
Ashenden were used by Alfred Hitchcock as the basis for The Secret Agent.
  ‘There are echoes of Maugham in John Le Carré's focus on the manipulative side of espionage, and in Ian Fleming's accounts of James Bond's dealings with M.’

Not included were fourteen stories that were so close to the truth that, Maugham's biographer notes, he destroyed them ‘after Winston Churchill had seen the manuscripts and informed him that they violated the Official Secrets Act’. One of 10,000 copies published on 29th March 1928.

References: Stott,
A Bibliography of the Works of W. Somerset Maugham A37a. Ellery Queen, Queen’s Quorum, 78. Book Collector, Top 200 Crime Novels (No.272). Haining, Crime Fiction 198.

Octavo (book size 18.8 x 12.8 cm) pp. [2] [8] 304 [2].
  Elegantly hand-bound in three quarter dark-blue calf over matching cloth, spine gilt-lettered in six compartments with raised bands, original front cloth and spine bound in at the rear.   Condition: Near fine, some light foxing to prelims and foredge in fine binding   Ref: 109234   Price: HK$ 3,700