In 1905 in Paris, the publisher Pierre Laffite had an idea. His new journal Je Sais Tout had just launched and he was looking for an author who could do for his magazine, what Arthur Conan Doyle’s phenomenally popular Sherlock Holmes had done for The Strand magazine, in London. He turned to the writer Maurice Leblanc and one of the most memorable and successful characters in French popular fiction was born: the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin.
Lupin is cunning, sophisticated, quick-witted, a master of disguise, always one step ahead of the police, and a thief of humble origins who steals only from the wealthy upper classes.
But why did this gentleman thief achieve such instant and lasting renown? How does he fit into popular crime fiction more widely and how, you may be wondering, did he end up as the basis for one of the most popular shows Netflix has ever made?