This is a surprising book from Mr. Maugham. On the assumption that any Maugham title is good for substantial sales, we have listed it under this classification. But as a novel, it doesn't measure up to Maugham's usual standard. It is, in the final analysis, a story of how Charley grew up, of how a Christmas holiday spent in Paris showed him that the irreproachable middle class culture of his esteemed parents was not characteristic of the world at large. That in his friend Simon, who was to have introduced him to the pleasures of Parisian life, he finds fanaticism and a large chip on the shoulder. That instead of spending a gay holiday, he goes Russian in a big way, and listens interminably to the story of Lydia and Robert Berger, and shares his hotel room platonically with Lydia, to give her a small measure of release from atonement for Robert's sins. In spite of this fantastic set-up, Mr. Maugham succeeds in making it a thoroughly entertaining and readable, and, surprisingly enough, credible tale.