An attractive example of Somerset Maugham’s famous collection of short stories set in Europe and Russia during the First World War, in large part based on the author’s own undercover experiences. It is believed that initially there were 31 stories but 14 had to be destroyed on Churchill’s orders as they were in breach of the Official Secrets Act.
Many authors of spy fiction have acknowledged the importance and merit of this work over the years, including John Le Carré, Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, Julian Symons and Raymond Chandler. The book was included in Queen’s Quorum (#78) and qualified as a Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone; it was also the basis for the Hitchcock film The Secret Agent, starring John Gielgud, Madeleine Carroll and Peter Lorre.
First edition, 8vo, publisher’s slate blue cloth, lettered in gilt with author’s & publisher’s device in black, minor rubbing to extreme corner-tips and spine ends, otherwise a fine, sharp example, dust-jacket benefiting from some skilful conservational paper restoration, some toning to edges of inside flaps, slight dulling to spine, blues slightly desaturated but overall a fine, clean example.
Queen’s Quorum 78; Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone; Toole Stott A37a
Stock ID: 98184