Louis Chavel, a wealthy lawyer, is imprisoned in France during the German occupation when it is announced that his captors will shoot one prisoner in ten. Of the thirty captives three will draw a marked slip of paper and will be killed. He a so-called tenth man and does not take the news well. While the other 29 men of lower stature handled the inevitability of their fate with calm resolve, Chavel rants about the injustice of the situation offering all his wealth to trade places with one of the other men. Janvier Mangeot, in failing health, takes the opportunity to make his mother and sister rich by taking Chavel's place in front of the firing squad. He has Chavel draw up a deed of gift to transfer to the estate to his heirs.
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Once released from his captors Chavel is carrying papers which proclaim he is Jean-Louis Charlot, as the German's erred in his back ground information he cab travel back to his ancestral estate house at St. Jean de Brinac incognito. He meets Janvier's mother and his twin sister Therese. They are bitter at Chavel, the man they believed switched places with their beloved Janvier, preferring to have him alive with them in place of material wealth and possessions and they tell Charlot so. He takes a temporary position as servant to the women for lack of any better work elsewhere. In time he falls in love with Therese, and is able to avoid being recognized by being cautious and dismissing suggestions of a resemblance with those who knew Chavel.
One day a man appears claiming to be Chavel. He is really Carosse, an actor on the run from the Resistance, wanted for crimes against France. Charlot tells Therese that Carosse is the former master of the estate hoping to deflect suspicion on him for good, assuming Carosse will vanish after being given food and a roof for the night. Carosse stays to see where he can take this dramatic role he is playing. Madame Mangeot's declining health gives out clearing the way for Carosse to woo Therese and take control of the estate. Carosse armed with a pistol and stolen papers, grows bold and decides to stay and win over Therese's heart to get the estate through marriage. Charlot, overcome with paternal concern for Therese, comes forward and identifies himself but must get Carosse to leave and never return.
The review of this Book prepared by David Fletcher