W. Somerset Maugham led many lives, including that of a doctor in London's slums, a successful playwright and novelist, an agent for British Intelligence during World War I, and a world traveler. In 1917, he took the first of many voyages to the Pacific Islands and the Far East, where his keen sense of observation found inspiration for some of his finest writing.
Rain and Other South Sea Stories features one of Maugham's most famous tales, concerning the clash between a missionary and a prostitute. "Rain" was adapted for the stage and filmed on three separate occasions, its leading character portrayed by Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, and Rita Hayworth. This collection also includes "Macintosh," a psychological study of the competition between two officials; "The Fall of Edward Barnard," a tale of social rebellion that foreshadows The Razor's Edge; "The Pool," a portrait of a marriage between people from different cultures; and other compelling stories of life in the tropics.