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The Scapegoat (VMC) [Paperback]

Daphne Du Maurier , Lisa Appignanesi
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 April 2004 VMC (Book 424)

By chance, two men - one English, the other French - meet in a provincial railway station. Their physical resemblance is uncanny, and they spend the next few hours talking and drinking - until at last John, the Englishman, falls into a drunken stupour. 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.

Gripping and complex, The Scapegoat is a masterful exploration of doubling and identity, and of the dark side of the self.

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The Scapegoat (VMC) + The House On The Strand (VMC) + My Cousin Rachel (VMC)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (1 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844080978
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844080977
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daphne du Maurier was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier. Educated at home and later in Paris, she began writing short stories and articles in 1928, and in 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. Rebecca made her one of the most popular authors of her day. Many of her bestselling novels became award-winning films. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books. She died in 1989.

Product Description


'This book is one of her best' TIME AND TIDE

Book Description

Gripping and complex, THE SCAPEGOAT is a masterful exploration of doubling and identity, and of the dark side of the self.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 25 July 2009
By Gregory S. Buzwell TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When you look at the premise for The Scapegoat it really shouldn't work, but such was du Maurier's skill as a writer, and such was her complete control of character and plot, that the reader never once pauses to question the plausibility of what is going on.

Two men, one a rather shabby French aristocrat called Jean, and the other a down-at-heel English teacher of French history called John, meet by chance in France. So far so ordinary but what brings the two men together is the fact that they look identical. Wishing to escape the tangled mess of his home life the Frenchman wines and dines his new found friend before leaving him drunk in a cheap hotel. The Englishman wakes up, wearing the other chap's clothes and with the other chap's papers. Understandably annoyed John finds himself almost against his will - and then with increasing relish and delight - playing the part of the French aristocrat: living in his house, being the head of the family, and running his double's business and entertaining his double's array of mistresses. As a plot device it's fascinating and du Maurier makes full use of the possibilities the storyline gives her. The French household which formerly had a swaggering bully at its head now has a sensitive and uncertain imposter pulling the strings and attempting to work out the past of the man whose role he has taken.

Perhaps even better than the set up of the novel are the characters of the people living in the French chateau. Jean's mother is doped-up to her eyeballs; his wife is sweet but easily manipulated; his sister, for reasons which only gradually emerge, refuses to talk to him while his brother understandably hates him because Jean appears to be having an affair with his wife.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An almost forgotten masterpiece 22 Feb 2005
It's great to see Daphne du Maurier getting a reprint of all her novels with revamped covers. It's easy to think of her as a writer of romantic melodrama but she isn't and this book, as if the others haven't anyway, proves that she has plenty to say about the human condition. Beautifully written and cleverly paced The Scapegoat draws you in and keeps you fascinated to learn the truth about the protagonists double.
Apart from being an atmospheric and well written thriller the book has a number of philosophical questions to ask about the nature of self and the different perspectives we all bring to the same situation. Above all it's about the choice we all have to do good or evil in our lives. It never at any point gets bogged down in what it is trying to say. A deftly written well told story that shows you don't have to sacrifice content, character and storytelling on the altar of style and structure to make a point.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A lonely single English man John who longs for a life so different to his own meets a Frenchman Jean who has all the ties and responsibilities John has never known ; a crumbling family business, a sick mother, a dependent wife and child, and a reputation.
John and Jean also happen to be identical, so Jean (who is also tired of his life but for the opposite reasons to John) decides to trick John into swapping places. John finds himself in someone elses shoes and leading the life of a person he has always wanted to be, but it doesnt turn out as he hoped and the masquerade leads to disaterous consequences.
Im not going to spoil it for you though so just buy it! Its another fantastic Daphne du Maurier book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy but far fetched novel 1 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having been recommended to read this book I purchased it with hope for good read, especially as it was by a renowned Author. Maybe it was me but it took a while to get going, to hook me. But after a while I wanted to know what happened. The story of someone replaced by another seemed a little far fetched. How they would not be rumbled had me a little sceptical. But it was a good read for holiday and glad I read it, if only to compare notes with my wife and daughter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
...lives are forever changed. English John meets French Count Jean and share dinner and drinks as they discuss the remarkable likeness the two share. But Jean's financial problems drive him to render John unconscious, switch identities and leave him in his place to deal with his failing glass factory and fractious family. John soon finds himself in the midst of a mine-field dealing with a pregnant "wife", a couple of mistresses (one of those being his sister-in-law), a "sister" who won't speak to him, a precocious "daughter" and an ailing "mother" with a bad habit.

Despite all the pitfalls, John comes to care for this new family and strives to find ways to make the glass factory a success - until a tragedy strikes that brings an unexpected financial windfall to the family's fortunes - but news of that windfalls also brings back...... More than that I'm not telling - you know I'm not into spoilers and book reports. As with all Du Maurier's books her writing and characterizations are subtle and sublime and I'm once again left with an enigmatic ending that kept me guessing just a little bit more. Four stars.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nail-biter 19 Oct 2002
By A Customer
I could not put down this book! It started out rather depressing and slow, but soon I was hooked, and I desperately -- foregoing sleep -- wanted to know what would happen to the lead character, John. Just when I thought his situation could not get worse, something else came up and I wondered, how could he get out of it this time? It is amazing how Du Maurier is able to make this novel's villain almost likeable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I expect we all have a twin out there!?
I loved this book, it seems quite probable to me that we all have a twin or doppleganger out there somewhere, but most of us don't ever meet them let alone swap lives. Read more
Published 19 hours ago by J. Tift
3.0 out of 5 stars The Scapegoat
Wasn't very impressed by this book. It has been on the TV recently. Not enough content for me. She has definitely written better.
Published 18 days ago by Margot J Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Writing
A great story by a great writer. I really enjoyed reading this book and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a good plot and imaginative writing!
Published 2 months ago by Thera
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost vice versa
This is a very strange book. It's premise is the hijacking of one person's identity by another. John,an Englishman,is drugged and has his identity taken by his French double,Jean. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pappashanga
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Excellent book. I bought it after watching the film on TV. However the film does not finish anything like the book which spoilt the film as the book version is much better.
Published 2 months ago by pauline
2.0 out of 5 stars Preposterous
A cold Englishman is tricked into impersonating an irresponsible Frenchman. The Englishman warms up and begins to understand love, while the Frenchman... Read more
Published 3 months ago by George Stevenson
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant read
As a man approaching 60 she is great discovery This book is pacy beguiling and thought provoking especially for a man of my age.I couldn't put it down.
Published 3 months ago by Nick Maskelyne
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent
De Maurier doesn't disappoint on this one, and holds the reader's interest right to the unexpected ending. An excellent read.
Published 4 months ago by maggie riche
4.0 out of 5 stars The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier
This is an excellent book by Daphne du Maurier, although the basis of the plot seems to be unrealistic. Nonetheless, the novel is well written and the story is intriguing. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gary L. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read
I didn't realise until the marvellous TV adaptation of 'The Scapegoat' with Matthew Rhys was on TV that Daphne Du Maurier had written other great novels besides 'Rebecca' and 'My... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Goodreviewer
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