London: William Heinemann, 1928. First Edition. Hardcover. Second Impression of this archetype of the espionage novel, a precursor to the works of Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, John le Carre, and Robert Ludlum. Publisher's dark blue linen-grain cloth, spine and front cover lettered in gilt. Without the scarce just jacket. Inscribed twice by Maughan: upside down on the rear end paper (presumably, his first attempt) and on the front end paper, "For Jack From WM." Very slight bubbling of cloth (as often), pages lightly toned, else about Fine. Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone. Stott A37a. Hubin (IV), p.198. Barzun & Taylor 2461. Pronzini & Muller, pp. 567-68 (a "nostalgic glimpse into an intrigue-filled world"). Fine-. Item #BB1833
Originally published as short stories, then in this single volume in the guise of a novel, based on Maugham’s espionage experiences in the Great War. Alfred Hitchcock adapted two of the stories for his film The Secret Agent. "What is new here is the flat dull tone that later writers so successfully exploited as a set-off for violent and unexpected events." (Barzun & Taylor) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).