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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
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...
Published on 25 July 2009 by Gregory S. Buzwell

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy but far fetched novel
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...
Published on 1 July 2011 by Mr. R Smith


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 25 July 2009
By 
Gregory S. Buzwell "bagpuss007" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Scapegoat (VMC) (Paperback)
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. Finally, to cap it all, Jean's daughter suffers from religious visions and threatens to throw herself from one of the top floor windows every time she doesn't get her way. The whole plot and the bizarre cast of characters is almost like something from Edgar Allan Poe but from these surreal ingredients du Maurier makes a telling fable about the nature of identity; the desire (or otherwise) to do good rather than evil and the need at all times to work with your family and friends rather than against them.

It's a strange but beautifully written and rather haunting novel. While highly regarded by afficianados of all things Daphne the book has been sadly neglected by the general public which is shame. Du Maurier wasn't just a novelist of gothic romance, she could do intellectual and surreal as well and - brilliant though it is - it's rather a shame that Rebecca casts such a long shadow over the rest of her work. Honestly, if you were interested enough to read this review then buy yourself a copy of The Scapegoat straight away. It's fabulous.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another 'can't put it down' Daphne du Maurier book...., 22 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Scapegoat (Paperback)
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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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An almost forgotten masterpiece, 22 Feb 2005
This review is from: The Scapegoat (VMC) (Paperback)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two strangers, identical in appearance, a chance meeting and....., 1 May 2009
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Scapegoat (VMC) (Paperback)
...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
This review is from: The Scapegoat (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy but far fetched novel, 1 July 2011
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This review is from: The Scapegoat (VMC) (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I expect we all have a twin out there!?, 17 April 2014
By 
J. Tift - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Scapegoat (VMC) (Paperback)
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.

It was a very interesting tale following the lives of one of them and the feelings of being left to jump into someone else's life and pretend to be them and whether they would be found out, but I would have to say that I did not expect the given ending or perhaps I just wanted things to be different for Jean.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Preposterous, 13 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Scapegoat (VMC) (Paperback)
A cold Englishman is tricked into impersonating an irresponsible Frenchman. The Englishman warms up and begins to understand love, while the Frenchman...Too many words, poor characterisation and an impossible plot. The whole finally descends to the level of a Mills and Boon effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Totally compelling, 26 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Scapegoat (VMC Book 424) (Kindle Edition)
Well written and plausible loved the idea of someone taking over someone's life and leaving their mark on the family definitely recommend this book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saw the film with Alec Guiness and was intrigued, 21 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Scapegoat (VMC) (Paperback)
This is a fascinating book very dark indeed and far more complex than the film which, it appears, I was one of the few people to appreciate.

Without giving away the plot and spoiling it for other people it was a fascinating read.
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The Scapegoat (VMC Book 424)
The Scapegoat (VMC Book 424) by Daphne du Maurier
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