The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale is a novel agent secret X-9 PDF Joseph Conrad, published in 1907. The novel deals broadly with anarchism, espionage and terrorism. Because of its terrorism theme, it was noted as « one of the three works of literature most cited in the American media » two weeks after the September 11 attacks. Set in London in 1886, the novel follows the life of Adolf Verloc, a secret agent.
Regroupant les quatre histoires écrites par Dashiell Hammett, cette nouvelle édition constitue l’intégrale définitive de la contribution du maître du roman noir à la saga X-9.
Verloc is also a businessman who owns a shop which sells pornographic material, contraceptives and bric-a-brac. He lives with his wife Winnie, his mother-in-law, and his brother-in-law, Stevie. The novel begins in Verloc’s home, as he and his wife discuss the trivialities of everyday life, which introduces the reader to Verloc’s family. Soon after, Verloc leaves to meet Mr Vladimir, the new First Secretary in the embassy of a foreign country. Although a member of an anarchist cell, Verloc is also secretly employed by the Embassy as an agent provocateur.
The novel flashes forward to after the bombing has taken place. Comrade Ossipon meets The Professor, who discusses having given explosives to Verloc. The Professor describes the nature of the bomb he carries in his coat at all times: it allows him to press a button which will kill him and those nearest to him in twenty seconds. The novel flashes back to before the explosion, taking the perspective of Winnie Verloc and her mother. At home, Mrs Verloc’s mother informs the family that she intends to move out of the house. Mrs Verloc’s mother and Stevie use a hansom driven by a man with a hook for a hand. The driver’s tales of hardship, whipping of his horse, and menacing hook scare Stevie to the point where Mrs Verloc must calm him.
As Verloc is talking to his wife about the possibility of emigrating to the continent, he is paid a visit by the Assistant Commissioner. Shortly thereafter, Chief Inspector Heat arrives to speak with Verloc, without knowing that the Assistant Commissioner had left with Verloc earlier that evening. The Chief Inspector tells Mrs Verloc that he had recovered an overcoat at the scene of the bombing which had the shop’s address written on a label. After the murder, Mrs Verloc flees her home, where she chances upon Comrade Ossipon, and begs him to help her. Ossipon assists her while confessing romantic feelings but secretly with a view to possess Mr Verloc’s bank account savings.
They plan to run away and he aids her in taking a boat to the continent. However, her instability and the revelation of Verloc’s murder increasingly worry him, and he abandons her, taking Mr Verloc’s savings with him. Adolf Verloc: a secret agent who owns a shop in Soho in London. His primary characteristic, as described by Conrad, is indolence. He has been employed by an unnamed embassy to spy on revolutionary groups, which then orders him to instigate a terrorist act against the Greenwich Observatory.