Re: RARA-AVIS: Ars讥 Lupin (was: Crime Fiction History Question)

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 23 Apr 2003

As already mentioned by other Avians, it's obviously Ars讥 Lupin -thief and PI- by Maurice Leblanc (1864-19410) that your correspondent is looking for. The original French version of the novels and short stories are constantly reprinted and will not be difficult to find IMO (total: approx. 20 volumes). The character of Ars讥 Lupin, "le gentleman cambrioleur" (the gentleman burglar), is one of the most famous creations of French classic detection mysteries, and is rather different in spirit from the Sherlock Holmes stories. Lupin is fundamentally anti-establishment, socially ironic… Leblanc's mystery stories with Lupin are founding works of the French mainstream mystery novels and they twill heavily influence an important part of this lit in France.

The first adventure of Lupin was published in 1905. It was an instant hit, and the publisher convinced Leblanc to create a series of short stories with the same character, as Leblanc never triggered such a success with his mainstream production of literary novels. Due to the huge readership of SH in Europe at the time, it was inevitable that readers made comparisons between the two sagas… and Leblanc staged confrontations between SH and AL in some stories: The most famous one is :
"Ars讥 Lupin contre Herlock Sholmes" - ('AL vs. HS')- SH's name is intentionally misspelled because of copyright problems for using the original spelling.

Amongst the best Lupin novels:
-L'aiguille creuse (= the hollow needle)
-L' aux 30 cercueils (= the island with 30 coffins), his most atypical and somber novel

But the whole thing is miles away from H/B or noir.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries

At 12:24 23-04-03 EDT, wrote:
> I'm on another list where the following query was posted. Does anyone know
> the answer (maybe Etienne Borgers)? Doesn't sound hard-boiled, but sounds
> like an interesting piece of the crime fiction history puzzle. (the now
> generally silent) Doug
>I am trying to identify the title and author of some books originally
>in French.
>Growing up in Taiwan I read a series of detective books in Chinese. They
>featured a very clever detective/crook who stole money from the rich and
>the money to the poor. He constantly outwitted Sherlock Holmes, who looked
>like an idiot in these books. (do we detect any British-French rivalries
>here?) The stories are set in France, often Paris, my guess is during the
>1800s. The name of the detective/crook in Chinese is ya-sen, lo-bin. Robin
>is probably his first name. The French author is Morris something
>(Mo-li-shi, lu-bu-liang.)
>I would like to locate versions of these books in English or French. My
>friend mentioned a website at U Chicago where people can ask questions like
>this. If any of you literary wizards on this list knows what I'm talking
>about, or a website where I can ask, I'd really appreciate it.
>By the way, I am trying to order books in Chinese. If you know a good source
>for that, that would be great.

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 23 Apr 2003 EDT