At the age of twenty-three, Charlie Mason is endowed with good looks, good manners and a happy disposition. Following three years at Cambridge and one in his father's business, he is now looking forward to a jaunt in Paris with Simon Fenimore, his oldest friend. Yet Paris is not what he expects. And in just a few days his young eyes are opened to the horror and ugly drama of its underworld. Published before the outbreak of war in 1939, Maugham's purpose in Christmas Holiday was to warn the complacent, insular British middle-class of the immense upheavals taking place on the Continent.