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The Three Impostors

Arthur Machen

Book Overview: 

Three friends in a large old dilapidated house are laughing. They seem as giddy as an acting troupe at closing night. But their laughter is callous, cruel; you might say, evil. One of them, a young woman described as piquant rather than beautiful with eyes of a shining hazel, carries a neatly wrapped parcel. She says it is for the doctor's museum. It is dripping.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . standing at the door, apparently on the look-out for some one, and I noticed that he and Smith gave sharp glances one to the other.

"From New York City, I expect, mister?"

"From New York!"

"All right; they 're ready, and you can have 'em when you choose. I know my orders, you see, and I mean to run this business through."

"Very well, Mr. Evans, that is what we want. Our money is good, you know. Bring them round."

I had stood silent, listening to this dialogue, and wondering what it meant. Smith began to walk impatiently up and down the street, and the man Evans was still standing at his door. He had given a sharp whistle, and I saw him looking me over in a quiet leisurely way, as if to make sure of my face for another time. I was thinking what all this could mean, when an ugly, slouching lad came up a side passage, leading two raw-boned horses.

"Get up, Mr. Wilkins, and be quick about it," said Smith. "We ought to . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I have long eagerly awaited reading something by Arthur Machen. Supposedly one of the grandfather's of Weird fiction, an important influence on H.P. Lovecraft, I was hoping for another author of the same caliber (and perhaps somewhat similar to) Algernon Blackwood. He turned out not to be quite quit

Excellent book. It was short stories but they all fit together. Two of my favorites were The Novel of the Black Seal and The Novel of the White Powder.

Taken as a whole, I can see why Lovecraft considered Machen to be an inspiration and influence. Machen touched on notions of the world being a far stranger and more terrible place than we imagine, and that the veneer of safety and civilization might be stripped away by happenstance or by foolish act

Basically this is the Dyson chronicles, minus the Red Hand and with the Great God Pan instead. There’s not much to add to Pan which remains as gripping and strange and worrying as it did the first time I read it about fifteen years ago. The Inmost Light feels like Machen trying to find a way to tell

If this book were expanded to include 'The White People' it would feature all of Machen's truly essential short horror fiction from his somewhat frustrating, but thoroughly fascinating career. The Great God Pan/The Inmost Light (published together) and The Three Impostors were the two books that cem

When Arthur Machen’s The Three Imposters was headed to press, John Murray, his London publisher, got cold feet. The year was 1895;the scandal of the Oscar Wilde trial was still fresh in the public’s mind; and, Murray worried that Machen’s depiction of pagan cults devoted to sex and murder might run

I bought The Three Imposters and Other Stories because Jorge Luis Borges put it in his 75-title list: "Prologues to a Personal Library" (Selected Non-Fictions, Penguin, 2000). So far, I have finished only the title novella. It was published in 1895 in UK, so the diction has its moments of old world

The Three Imposters is a strange little book, a narrative about a secret society's efforts to retrieve a Roman coin ("The Gold Tiberius"), but this "novel" appears to be little more than a convenient device for telling a series of marvelous, horrific tales. Two of these tales--"The Novel of the Blac

I read selected bits of this collection - "The Great God Pan" and "The Novel of the White Powder" - last year as support material for a Lovecraft Book Club, but I didn't really settle down to get to know Machen until recently, when the imminence of the 2015 NecronomiCon reminded me that I'd promised

Ok, I've gone back and forth and thought about this review. I have not read the second volume (will soon), but this is how it seems to me. This book contains two important works: "The Great God Pan" and The Three Impostors. "The Great God Pan" is something of misstep that mashes together two differe

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