Last year I read an old Sommerset Maugham novel called THE PAINTED VEIL. Although Maugham is no longer in great favor like he once was in this country, I regarded it as an excellent work.
I became aware of the story having been made into a movie, featuring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. I purchased it and my wife and I absolutely loved it.
The story centers on life in the English Commission area of Shanghai in the 1920's .... marital problems .... and the life of a medical missionary "upriver" away from the artifical environment of English colonial society.
I recommend it highly!