(June 21, 2019)

Available as an eBook at Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and other fine eBook retailers.

ISBN 978-1-935830-62-7 (print)
ISBN 978-1-935830-63-4 (ebook)

Wealthy London banker Ronald Chapman is found dead — a suicide,apparently, though the police are still on the case. Janet, his beautiful widow and sole heir to their fortune, finally freed from her loveless marriage, turns to her beloved Shakespeare for solace: “After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well; nothing can touch him further.” As she awaits the release of Ronald’s body for burial, there are arrangements to be made and appearances to uphold. She has only one problem: Ronald’s best friend, who is expected by family and friends to speak at the funeral … doesn’t actually exist. Can the Extra! agency — specialists in the rental of fake hecklers, phony cuckolds, inexistent relatives, sham boyfriends, and counterfeit job candidates — help? Extra!’s boss, Mike Fielding, is ready for anything that’s more or less within the law and might be approved by his alter ego, private-eye Philip Marlowe. The job falls on failed actor Will Power, who is buffeted between the dull reality of his own life and the exciting, romantic world of make-believe in this wicked comedy of deceit, treachery and love.


“All the world’s a stage ... and the characters of The Impostors are certainly seasoned players. From slapstick and laugh-out-loud to dry and satirical, Balding uses wit in all its forms to tell a story of lies and façades that, refreshingly, shows us the lighter side of deception. Nobody in this twisty tale is who they claim to be, and truth is not so much something to be sought out, but rather a somewhat hum-drum annoyance to overcome in the pursuit of being happy. With a host of colourful characters, and plenty of secrets to uncover, The Impostors is a hilarious look at the human capacity for lies, deception and fantasy.”

—N. J. CROSSKEY, author of ‘Poster Boy’

“For everyone, this is a very funny book. But, if you’re an aficionado of philosophy, it’s a very, very funny book.

More of philosophy later, let’s look at it just as a hilarious comic novel. The hero, the improbably named Will Power (the first signal of some deeper meaning?) is an unsuccessful aspiring actor, who signs up with a theatrical agency with a standout Unique Selling Point: it sends its thespians out to play fictional parts in the real world, not in films or plays. Normally this involves impersonating non-existent boyfriends of desperate but unattractive ladies, but Will is entrusted with the challenge of being the agency’s first official mourner. The defunct, a man he has never met, has been blessed with a very eccentric merry widow with an obsession for having fun and quoting Shakespeare. What can go right?

The plot, peopled with delightfully eccentric characters firmly rooted in middle class England, belts along at a hilarious and fast pace that brought back memories of Phillip King farces, although this modern version is more intellectual and wittier than these relics from the fifties and sixties. Some may feel the characters are caricatures, ciphers constructed to fit into situations depicting the author’s metaphysical predilections, but for me that made them even funnier and more enjoyable. I particularly loved the Austrian ‘psychoanalyst’ who complained that ‘ze English’ do not ‘sink’. There’s a laugh in every line, or at least in every paragraph.

So much for the comic novel; what about the philosophy? Who are we? Why are we here? Does it matter? If we are pretending to be someone else, are we really that person? Or, if we are being ourselves, are we really pretending? Is philosophy merely a parlour game, or should we take it seriously. Is existentialist angst a fad? Or maybe a hobby? Was Freud a fraud? Was Sartre a swindler? Like a good philosopher, Mr. Balding asks all these questions, and many others. And like a good philosopher, he doesn’t answer any. A book to make you think. Nice work!

An outstanding novel and a real pleasure to read.”


“This book is absolutely hilarious ... [a] wicked comedy of love, treachery and more ... I found this author’s writing phenomenal and will be looking forward to more of his books.”
—ENVIE, The Magazine for the Twitter Writing Community

“One simply never wants this book to end, so engaging are the provoking, inspiring and idiosyncratic thoughts and ideas with which it overflows. The writing style is beautiful, the story is great, and I found once again this author’s unique humour and wit. What a truly enjoyable time I had with The Impostors.”
—BENGT BRAUN, Chairman of the Board of Bonnier,

The Bonnier Group

ISBN 978-1-935830-62-7 (print)
ISBN 978-1-935830-63-4 (ebook)
Publication Date: June 21, 2019


Born in 1954 in London of mixed Scottish and English parentage, Timothy Balding grew up and was educated on a British military base in Germany. He left school and his family at the age of sixteen to return alone to the United Kingdom, where he was hired as a reporter on local newspapers in Reading in the county of Berkshire. For the ensuing decade, he worked on local and regional titles and then at Press Association, the national news agency, covering politics in Westminster, the British Parliament. Balding exiled himself to Paris, France, in 1980, and spent the next thirty years working for international, non-governmental organizations. For twenty-five of these, he was Chief Executive Officer of the World Association of Newspapers, the representative global group of media publishers and editors, established after World War II to defend the freedom and independence of the press worldwide. A Knight (First Class) in the Order of the White Rose of Finland — an honor accorded him by Nobel Peace laureate Martti Ahtisaari, former Finnish President — Timothy Balding currently lives in France and devotes himself to writing. The Impostors is his second novel.


THE IMPOSTORS — Timothy Balding in Conversation