Short, witty, loosely connected stories following the British writer / spy Ashenden as he is sent around the world on secret missions. None of the stories feature particularly complex feats of espionage or gruesome violence. I just really liked Ashenden (who is a thinly veiled version of Maugham): Shy and easily embarrassed, he nonetheless is a competent gentleman spy with a dry sense of humor that allows him to be detached and see the absurdity in his work. As a writer, he appreciates art and has a sense of romance and adventure. Basically, he is perfectly British and I love him. He breaks off a passionate love affair with a woman because she refuses to let him order anything for breakfast but scrambled eggs.