In the Paris evening papers of Tuesday, February 28, 1866, under the head of /Local Items/, the following announcement appeared: "A daring robbery, committed against one of our most eminent bankers, M. Andre Fauvel, caused great excitement this morning throughout the neighborhood of Rue de Provence. "The thieves, who were as skilful as they were bold, succeeded in making an entrance to the bank, in forcing the lock of a safe that has heretofore been considered impregnable, and in possessing themselves of the enormous sum of three hundred and fifty thousand francs in bank-notes.
A grisly triple murder occurs in a down-and-out quarter of Paris, and the petty criminal apprehended at the scene of the crime is considered clearly guilty--except by young Monsieur Lecoq. The brilliant but inexperienced young detective digs deeper into the case to discover an affair of family honor involving blackmail, secret identities, and suicide. Outwitted at every turn, Lecoq is compelled to attempt a last-ditch gamble. First published in 1869, Monsieur Lecoq is astonishingly modern and enjoyable. André Gide pronounced author Emile Gaboriau "the father of the modern detective novel," and this is Gaboriau's finest work. Energetic and keenly logical, Lecoq ranks as a significant figure in the history of detective novels; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself acknowledged the fictional sleuth's influence on his own logical mastermind, Sherlock Holmes.
Emile Gaboriau (1833-1873) is an important figure in the history of detective fiction. A French journalist and novelist, he created the "roman policier" with a series of books involving private detective Monsieur Lecoq, who works logically. Lecoq was based on a real-life thief turned policeman named Francois Vidocq (1775-1857), whose memoirs mixed fiction and fact. Gaboriau's huge following was eclipsed by Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Interestingly, Holmes may have been at least partly based on another of Gaboriau's characters, consulting detective Father Tabaret, whose methods Monsieur Lecoq adopts in the first Lecoq book.
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