Maurice Marie Émile Leblanc was a French novelist and writer of short stories, known primarily as the creator of the fictional gentleman thief and detective Arsène Lupin, often described as a French counterpart to Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation Sherlock Holmes.
Leblanc was born 11 December 1864 in Rouen, Normandy, where he was educated at Lycée Pierre-Corneille. After studying in several countries and dropping out of law school, he settled in Paris and began to write fiction, both short crime stories and longer novels. The latter, heavily influenced by writers like Gustave Flaubert and Guy de Maupassant, were critically admired but had little commercial success.
Leblanc was largely considered little more than a writer of short stories for various French periodicals until the first Arsène Lupin story appeared in a series of short stories that was serialized in the magazine Je sais tout, starting in No. 6, dated 15 July 1905. Clearly created at editorial request under the influence of and in reaction to the wildly successful Sherlock Holmes stories, the roguish and glamorous Lupin was a surprise success and Leblanc’s fame and fortune beckoned.By 1907, Leblanc had graduated to writing full-length Lupin novels, and the reviews and sales were so good that Leblanc effectively dedicated the rest of his career to working on the Lupin stories. Leblanc was awarded the Légion d’Honneur for his services to literature, and died 6 November 1941 in Perpignan. (Source: Wikipedia)
Most of Leblanc’s work has been translated into English and some of this can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.
Selected Bibliography: Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar aka Exploits of Arsène Lupin, Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin; (Arsène Lupin, gentleman cambrioleur, 1907); Arsène Lupin vs. Herlock Sholmes aka The Blonde Lady (Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès, 1908 ); The Hollow Needle (L’Aiguille creuse, 1909); 813 (813, 1910); The Crystal Stopper (Le Bouchon de cristal, 1912); The Confessions of Arsène Lupin (Les Confidences d’Arsène Lupin, 1913); The Shell Shard aka Woman of Mystery (L’Éclat d’obus, 1916) Not originally part of the Arsène Lupin series, Lupin was written into the story in the 1923 edition; The Golden Triangle aka The Return of Arsène Lupin (Le Triangle d’or, 1918); The Island of Thirty Coffins aka The Secret of Sarek (L’Île aux trente cercueils, 1919); The Teeth of The Tiger (Les Dents du tigre, 1914) Published in English in 1914, but remained unpublished in French until 1920; The Eight Strokes of The Clock (Les Huit Coups de l’horloge, 1922).
“Footprints in the Snow”, the penultimate story of Leblanc’s Eight Strikes of the Clock collection, is available as part of Foreign Bodies (British Library Crime Classics, 2017) edited by Martin Edwards.
Further Reading: L’Arsène by Xavier Lechard At the Villa Rosa
(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Macaulay (USA) (1913) c1928)
It has been a fortnight since the baroness Repstein disappeared from Paris, taking with her a fortune in jewels stolen from her husband. French detectives have chased her all over Europe, following the trail of gemstones like so many precious breadcrumbs, but she has eluded their efforts. When Arsène Lupin finds her, she will not escape so easily.
The most brilliant criminal mind in all of Europe, Lupin is not above performing the occasional good deed—especially when there is reward money at stake. In these thrilling stories, the gentleman thief outwits both policemen and criminals time and time again, always making sure to pocket something for himself.
This ebook features a new introduction by Otto Penzler and has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices. (Source: Mysterious Press)