The Great Impersonation

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Author: E. Phillips Oppenheim (Anthony Partridge)
Published: 1920
Language: English
Wordcount: 75,864 / 225 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 80.7
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 4,545 5361

No more successful mystery story was ever written than 'The Great Impersonation.' It's exploitation of the hitherto unsuspected is a triumph of construction and treatment that holds the attention of the reader from first to last.

Show Excerpt

ever lived has his work to do. It is work which makes fibre, which gives balance to life."

Dominey sighed. His cigar, dearly prized though it had been, was cold between his fingers. In that perfumed darkness, illuminated only by the faint gleam of the shaded lamp behind, his face seemed suddenly white and old. His host leaned towards him and spoke for the first time in the kindlier tones of their youth.

"You hinted at tragedy, my friend. You are not alone. Tragedy also has entered my life. Perhaps if things had been otherwise, I should have found work in more joyous places, but sorrow came to me, and I am here."

A quick flash of sympathy lit up Dominey's face.

"We met trouble in a different fashion," he groaned.


Dominey slept till late the following morning, and when he woke at last from a long, dreamless slumber, he was conscious of a curious quietness in the camp. The doctor, who came in to see


Average Rating of 4.6 from 5 reviews: *****

I don't know if this is the best Oppenheim's book as is said in one review, but the story is interesting, as most stories of impersonators are, and the final surprise makes it even very interesting.
The beginning is a bit slow, that's the only minus I see in it.
As in other Oppenheim's books, there is a shadowy espionage theme present, but this time there is also something else: in one of the final chapters you'll find a curious premonition of Hitler's Blitzkrieg and his Third Reich phantasy, with its frontiers nearly exactly drawn.
And a truthful mention of Germany's promoting the Russian revolution and an acrid irony about the freedom the revolution will bring to Russian people (the book was written three years after the revolution).

Henry L. Ratliff

(1920) Espionage (WWI) / Mystery (Unraveling past events) /Suspense (Political)

R: * * * * *

Plot bullets

  • Sir Everard Dominey, an Englishman, and Baron Leopold Von Ragastein, a German are old school acquaintances.

  • They are more that that. The resemblance of the two is remarkable.

  • Dominey shows up in Africa at the plantation of Baron Von Ragastein, who has been placed there for espionage work for Germany, in case of, or in preparation for war.

  • Von Ragastein devises a plan to take advantage of an opportunity to switch places with Sir Edward and do some secret work in England, as Sir Edward.

  • The masquerade will not be easy, as he must deal with Sir Edward's past. And must be prepared to encounter and best these situations:

    o Sir Edward left England to flee a possible murder indictment.

    o The event mentally effected his wife Rosamund to the point that she may want his life.

    o The mother of the man he was supposed to have killed. THis woman is his wife's personal attendant and confidant.

    o Rumors of a ghost of the man he was supposed to have killed.

    o Von Ragastein's old lover, who is determined to cause trouble.

  • Under these conditions, and thosed imposed by the war, can any one man keep up, 'The Great Impersonation'.

Dai Alanye

After reading perhaps eighteen of Oppenheim's novels, including a few I've skimmed through, I conclude he's vastly over-rated despite managing to publish a ton of books.

Impersonation is considered his best (or at least most famous) yet it doesn't come up to snuff. Not a bad writing style, and impersonation stories generally are intriguing when well done (Prisoner of Zenda


Considered one of the Greatest works of Oppenheim.

A great novel. Keeps you wind up till the end.

I finished it in just one reading. It has got everything from mystery, love, politics, espionage, betrayal to superb twists.

A must read.

Xitij Dixit

A great read. It also has a charming love story. A complete novel in many senses.

(Promote your book here)

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