Lifetime: 1864 - 1941 Passed: ≈ 82 years ago


French Novelist, Writer



Maurice Leblanc

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 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. In total, Leblanc went on to write 21 Lupin novels or collections of short stories.

The character of Lupin might have been based by Leblanc on French anarchist Marius Jacob, whose trial made headlines in March 1905. It is also possible that Leblanc had also read Octave Mirbeau's Les 21 jours d'un neurasthénique (1901), which features a gentleman thief named Arthur Lebeau, and he had seen Mirbeau's comedy Scrupules (1902), whose main character is a gentleman thief.

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. Like Conan Doyle, who often appeared embarrassed or hindered by the success of Sherlock Holmes and seemed to regard his success in the field of crime fiction as a detraction from his more "respectable" literary ambitions, Leblanc also appeared to have resented Lupin's success. Several times, he tried to create other characters, such as private eye Jim Barnett, but he eventually merged them with Lupin. He continued to pen Lupin tales well into the 1930s.

Leblanc also wrote two notable science fiction novels: Les Trois Yeux (1919), in which a scientist makes televisual contact with three-eyed Venusians, and Le Formidable Evènement (1920), in which an earthquake creates a new landmass between England and France.

Leblanc was awarded the Légion d'Honneur for his services to literature, and died in Perpignan in 1941. He was buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery. Georgette Leblanc was his sister.

Books by Maurice Leblanc

The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar Cover image

The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar

Adventure Action Crime Novel
Detective Mystery

Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar is the first collection of stories by Maurice Leblanc recounting the adventures of Arsène Lupin, released on 10 June 1907. It contains the first eight stories depicting the character, first published in the French maga...

813 Cover image


Adventure Novel
Detective Murder Mystery Action Suicide

In this installment, Lupin sets out to clear his name after he is falsely accused of a theft and is forced to go on the run. With twists and turns at every page, "813" is a fast-paced and engaging mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their s...

The Secret Tomb Cover image

The Secret Tomb

Adventure Crime Fiction Novel
Gothic Mystery Thriller Thief Suspense Danger Secret Twists Intriguing Classic Literature Heist

The renowned master of suspense and adventure, a thrilling tale unfolds as renowned thief and gentleman, Arsène Lupin, finds himself entangled in a web of mystery and danger. When Lupin receives an enigmatic invitation to a secluded castle nestled in...

Hollow Needle: Further Adventures of Arsène Lupin Cover image

Hollow Needle: Further Adventures of Arsène Lupin

Arsène Lupin returns in a wonderful story of disguises, love, and of course treasure. Once again, Lupin crosses paths with the famous Holmlock Shears. But this time Arsène matches wits with Isidore Beautrelet, Sixth-form Schoolboy. Every step that Lu...

Arsène Lupin, gentleman-cambrioleur Cover image

Arsène Lupin, gentleman-cambrioleur

Arsène Lupin, gentleman-cambrioleur est un recueil de nouvelles écrites par Maurice Leblanc et contant les aventures d'Arsène Lupin. La première nouvelle de ce recueil a été publié en juillet 1905 dans le journal Je sais tout. Il s'agissait de la pre...

Eight Strokes of the Clock Cover image

Eight Strokes of the Clock

The Eight Strokes of the Clock is a collection of eight short stories by Maurice Leblanc. The stories have his most famous creation, Arsène Lupin, gentleman-thief, as main character. The eight stories, even though independent, have a leading thread:...

Blonde Lady, being a record of the duel of wits between Arsène Lupin and the English detective Cover image

Blonde Lady, being a record of the duel of wits between Arsène Lupin and the English detective

In "The Blonde Lady, being a record of the duel of wits between Arsène Lupin and the English detective" - original title "Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmes" - the gentleman-burglar once more meets his enemy, the English detective Herlock Sholmes. I...

Teeth of the Tiger Cover image

Teeth of the Tiger

Maurice Leblanc delivers another Arsene Lupin adventure set in World War I. (Summary by Cathy Barratt)

Crystal Stopper Cover image

Crystal Stopper

During a burglary at the home of Deputy Daubrecq a crime is committed, and two accomplices of Arsène Lupin are arrested by the police. One is guilty of the crime, the other innocent, but both will be sentenced to death. Lupin seeks to deliver the vic...

Confessions of Arsene Lupin Cover image

Confessions of Arsene Lupin

A collection of nine stories - or confessions - of the celebrated gentleman thief Arsene Lupin. (Summary by Cathy Barratt)

Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès Cover image

Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès

Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès » est un recueil de deux histoires paru en 1908, dans lequel Maurice Leblanc introduit le personnage, sorte de Sherlock Holmes un peu moins doué qui représente l’esprit britannique, calculateur, froid, un peu coinc...

Arsène Lupin Cover image

Arsène Lupin

This work was originally a four-act play written by Maurice Leblanc and Francis de Croisset, later novelized by Leblanc himself, translated by detective fiction writer Edgar Jepson and published in English, in 1909, under the simple title of Arsène L...

Confidences d'Arsène Lupin Cover image

Confidences d'Arsène Lupin

Recueil de neuf nouvelles d'Arsène Lupin (Les Jeux du soleil, L'anneau nuptial, Le signe de l'ombre, Le piège infernal, L'écharpe de soie rouge, La mort qui rôde, Edith au cou de Cygne, Le fétu de paille, Le mariage d'Arsène Lupin) - Summary by Fao1...

Arsène Lupin versus Herlock Sholmes Cover image

Arsène Lupin versus Herlock Sholmes

The story of an exciting test of wits between world-class thief Arsène Lupin and master detective Herlock Sholmes. Translated from the French. - Summary by Andy Harrington

Aiguille creuse Cover image

Aiguille creuse

« L'Aiguille creuse » est l'emplacement secret du Trésor des rois de France. Découvert par Arsène Lupin, un jeune étudiant Isodore Beautrelet s'emploie à le retrouver à son tour. La joute entre ces deux personnages, qui se respectent et s'apprécient...

813 Cover image


Roman policier mettant en scène Arsène Lupin dans le contexte politique et diplomatique d’avant la Grande Guerre, tout au long d'une série d'incroyables péripéties. Cet ambitieux récit démarre par un simple meurtre, et se poursuit par les recherches...

Dents du tigre Cover image

Dents du tigre

Nouveau combat d'Arsène Lupin, en tant que Don Luis Perenna, « Les Dents du tigre » met en scène un ennemi sournois et manipulateur qui cherche à s'attribuer un fabuleux héritage américain, au prix de crimes en cascade sur le sol français. Amoureux...