Guy de Maupassant was a master of the short story and this little collection is a perfectly good introduction to the writer. While several of the tales don't end well for the protagonists, Maupassant's well crafted writing and astutute observations of the human character and all its flaws, makes for refreshing reading. My favourites stories were:
Boule de Suif
Madame Tellier's Establishment
The Piece of String
Two Little Soldiers
As with most classics, you must leave reading the introduction to the end, unless you want to know how stories conclude...seriously, what's the deal with introductions assuming you have read the book already?