A masterful exploration of doubling and identity, and of the dark side of the self. One of du Maurier's most accomplished novels.
'Someone jolted my elbow as I drank and said, "Je vous demande pardon," and as I moved to give him space he turned and stared at me and I at him, and I realised, with a strange sense of shock and fear and nausea all combined, that his face and voice were known to me too well.
I was looking at myself.'
By chance, two men - one English, the other French - meet in a provincial railway station. Their resemblance is uncanny, and they spend the next few hours talking and drinking - until at last John, the Englishman, falls into a drunken stupor. It's to be his last carefree moment, for when he wakes, his French companion has stolen his identity and disappeared. So John steps into the Frenchman's shoes, and faces a variety of perplexing roles - as owner of a chateau, director of a failing business, head of a fractious family, and master of nothing.
A good original novel, well tinged with nightmare - Times Literary Supplement
What a magnificent thriller this is - NY Times Book Review
No other popular writer has so triumphantly defied classification . . . She satisfied all the questionable criteria of popular fiction, and yet satisfied the exacting requirements of "real literature", something very few novelists ever do
She wrote exciting plots, she was highly skilled at arousing suspense, and she was, too, a writer of fearless originality - Guardian
Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, educated at home and in Paris, and lived for much of her life in her beloved Cornwall, the setting for many of her novels. Most of her novels have been bestsellers and many have been made into films. She is considered one of the most accomplished novelists of the twentieth century.