Maugham was a prolific writer of short stories, and this is the first volume of his Collected Short Stories, as published by Vintage (there are other collections of his short stories) which he compiled himself. Rather than organise them by theme or chronologically, Maugham instead attempted to organise geographically, by the location in which they are set. This serves to remind the reader how widely travelled Maugham was and the wide scope of his stories, and this volume tends to focus on the British Pacific colonies, Monte Carlo, France, and Spain. Although this can meant that similar characters emerge in stories that are adjacent to each other (The Happy Couple and The Lion's Skin, both set in Southern France are perhaps the worst examples for this), to be fair this doesn't happen too often. Overall this approach helps to create a sense of exoticism, certainly as the reader moves through the opening suite of stories that are set in the Pacific, and he successfully teases out a variety of different stories from the territories through which this collection moves.
Some people may regard these stories as slightly old fashioned or conservative in terms of their approach. Whilst it is true that his stories frequently focus on the lives of the rich and famous, he does succeed in introducing a wide range of characters. He doesn't use his stories to push a particular view of the world, creating simple stories that frequently contain surprising and effective twists. His stories are relatively uncluttered and always exceptionally engaging. Highlights for me personally included The Three Fat Women of Antibes (about three large ladies trying to lose weight), Gigolo and Gigolette (about a couple on the cabaret circuit) and The Unconquered (about a war-time German officer who falls for a French girl during occupation).
The one gripe that I would have with his writing is his propensity to insert himself into the story's narrative by means of introducing the characters or the predicament that will drives the story. This is an enjoyable collection that frequently represents the best of short story writing.