Frankly, this is listed under Must Books solely on Maugham's name. It doesn't measure up to the quality of its predecessor as a collection of short stories- The Mixture as Before. There's a not wholly pleasant sense of the author-guest eavesdropping, or of the professional gossip-monger collecting tidbits; or of a writer who has found a formula and knows that it will always find a market. Slick writing, well constructed, with that crisp brevity of plotting that makes short story collections good pick-up reading. There's little of psychological import; there's no experimentation in format; it is just a collection of readable tales, with the highly personal flavor of the author meets the reader. The settings shift from the Malayan states in which so many of Maugham's earlier books were set, Spain, England; the time is in the main contemporary, though one story at least specifically and deliberately predates the war, and none of them are actually war stories. Not a book likely to roll up the sort of sale that Edna Ferber's collection, One Basket, has done- but a comfortable sales and rental item.