William Somerset Maugham was an English playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was one of the most significant travel writers of the inter-war years, and can be compared with contemporaries such as Evelyn Waugh and Freya Stark. His best efforts in this line include The Gentleman in the Parlour, dealing with a journey through Burma, Siam, Cambodia and Vietnam, and On a Chinese Screen, a series of very brief vignettes which might almost be notes for short stories that were never written. Influenced by the published journals of the French writer Jules Renard, which Maugham had often enjoyed for their conscientiousness, wisdom and wit, Maugham published selections from his own journals under the title A Writer's Notebook in 1949. A short story Flotsam and Jetsam was first published in 1947 in Creatures of Circumstance, a collection of 15 short stories. Skelton an anthropologist is taken in by gruff, poor planter Norman Grange and his slight, withered, tic-ridden wife, Vesta. Terrified of her husband, Vesta tells Skelton her story – a down at heel actress stranded in the east after the theatre company went bankrupt she jumped at the chance to marry a wealthy planter, only to discover Grange’s poverty when it was too late. When a handsome kindly planter buys an estate nearby she starts a passionate affair with him, only for Grange to find out and shoot the man, who topples onto Vesta covering her in blood. You can listen online to free English audiobook “Flotsam and Jetsam” by William Somerset Maugham on our website.