By Neil Jenman

It is an ancient Moorish symbol which is supposed to bring good luck and ward off the evil eye.

In about 1880, Robert Ormond Maugham (one of the founders of the British Law Society), brought it back from a trip to Africa. He placed it on a home he built in the French countryside. He died in 1884, at the age of sixty-one.

In 1901, his son, the struggling young writer, William Somerset Maugham, placed the symbol on his fourth book, The Hero. The book was a flop. Later, Maugham realised the symbol was upside down. He turned it the right way up and became the most successful author in the world. He died in 1965, at the age of ninety-one.

In 1976, I read my first Maugham book, The Summing Up. It was the start of a lifelong interest in his life and work.

In 1984, when I opened my real estate office, I placed the symbol above the front door. I have used it ever since.