Arsène Lupin

For the manga character, see Arsène Lupin III. For other uses, see Arsène Lupin (disambiguation).
Arsène Lupin

Arsène Lupin, as he appeared in volume 4 of Detective Conan
First appearance "The Arrest of Arsène Lupin"
Created by Maurice Leblanc
Gender Male
Occupation Gentleman thief
Nationality French

Arsène Lupin is a fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise created by French writer Maurice Leblanc.


The character of Lupin was first introduced in a series of short stories serialized in the magazine Je sais tout, starting in No. 6, dated 15 July 1905. He was originally called Arsène Lopin, until a local politician of the same name protested, resulting in the name change.

Lupin was featured in 17 novels and 39 novellas by Leblanc, with the novellas or short stories collected into book form for a total of 24 books. The first story, "The Arrest of Arsène Lupin", was published in the magazine Je sais tout on 15 July 1905.

The character has also appeared in a number of books from other writers as well as numerous film, television, stage play, and comic book adaptations.

Aside from the Arsène Lupin stories written by Maurice Leblanc (1864–1941) himself, five authorized sequels were written in the 1970s by the celebrated mystery writing team of Boileau-Narcejac.


Arsène Lupin is a literary descendant of Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail's Rocambole. Like him, he is often a force for good, while operating on the wrong side of the law. Those whom Lupin defeats, always with his characteristic Gallic style and panache, are worse villains than he. Lupin shares distinct similarities with E. W. Hornung's archetypal gentleman thief A. J. Raffles who first appeared in The Amateur Cracksman in 1899, but both creations can be said to anticipate and have inspired later characters such as Louis Joseph Vance's The Lone Wolf and Leslie Charteris's The Saint.

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

Fantasy elements

Several Arsène Lupin novels contain some interesting fantasy elements: a radioactive 'god-stone' that cures people and causes mutations is the object of an epic battle in L’Île aux trente cercueils; the secret of the Fountain of Youth, a mineral water source hidden beneath a lake in the Auvergne, is the goal sought by the protagonists in La Demoiselle aux yeux verts; finally, in La Comtesse de Cagliostro, Lupin's arch-enemy and lover is none other than Joséphine Balsamo, the alleged granddaughter of Cagliostro himself.

Arsène Lupin and Sherlock Holmes

Arsene Lupin Contre Herlock Sholmes

Leblanc introduced Sherlock Holmes to Lupin in the short story "Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late" in Je sais tout No. 17, 15 June 1906. In it, an aged Holmes meets a young Lupin for the first time. After legal objections from Conan Doyle, the name was changed to "Herlock Sholmes" when the story was collected in book form in Volume 1.

Sholmes returned in two more stories collected in Volume 2, "Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmes", and then in a guest-starring role in the battle for the secret of the Hollow Needle in L'Aiguille creuse. Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmes was published in the United States in 1910 under the title "The Blonde Lady" which used the name "Holmlock Shears" for Sherlock Holmes, and "Wilson" for Watson.

In 813, Lupin manages to solve a riddle that Herlock Sholmes was unable to figure out.

Sherlock Holmes, this time with his real name and accompanied by familiar characters such as Watson and Lestrade (all copyright protection having long expired), also confronted Arsène Lupin in the 2008 PC 3D adventure game Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin. In this game Holmes (and occasionally others) are attempting to stop Lupin from stealing five valuable British items. Lupin wants to steal the items in order to humiliate Britain, but he also admires Holmes and thus challenges him to try to stop him.

In a novella "The Prisoner of the Tower, or A Short But Beautiful Journey of Three Wise Men" by Boris Akunin published in 2008 in Russia as the conclusion of "Jade Rosary Beads" book, Sherlock Holmes and Erast Fandorin oppose Arsène Lupin on December 31, 1899.


  1. Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar (Arsène Lupin, gentleman cambrioleur, 1907 coll., 9 novellas) (AKA Exploits of Arsène Lupin, Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin)
  2. Arsene Lupin vs. Herlock Sholmes (Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès, 1908 coll., 2 stories) (AKA The Blonde Lady)
  3. The Hollow Needle (L'Aiguille creuse, 1909, novel)
  4. 813 (813, 1910, novel)
  5. The Crystal Stopper (Le Bouchon de cristal, 1912, novel)
  6. The Confessions of Arsene Lupin (Les Confidences d'Arsène Lupin, 1913 coll., 9 novellas)
  7. The Shell Shard (L'Éclat d'obus, 1916, novel) (AKA: Woman of Mystery) Not originally part of the Arsène Lupin series, Lupin was written into the story in the 1923 edition.
  8. The Golden Triangle (Le Triangle d'or, 1918, novel) (AKA: The Return of Arsène Lupin)
  9. The Island of Thirty Coffins (L’Île aux trente cercueils, 1919, novel) (AKA: The Secret of Sarek)
  10. The Teeth of The Tiger (Les Dents du tigre, 1921, novel)
  11. The Eight Strokes of The Clock (Les Huit Coups de l'horloge, 1923 coll., 8 novellas)
  12. The Countess of Cagliostro (La Comtesse de Cagliostro, 1924, novel) (AKA: Memoirs of Arsene Lupin)
  13. The Overcoat of Arsène Lupin (Le Pardessus d'Arsène Lupin, published in English in 1926) Novella first published in 1924 in France as La Dent d'Hercule Petitgris. Altered into a Lupin story and published in English as The Overcoat of Arsène Lupin in 1926 in The Popular Magazine
  14. The Damsel With Green Eyes (La Demoiselle aux yeux verts, 1927, novel) (AKA: The Girl With the Green Eyes, Arsène Lupin, Super Sleuth)
  15. The Man with the Goatskin (L'Homme à la peau de bique (1927, novella)
  16. The Barnett & Co. Agency (L'Agence Barnett et Cie., 1928 coll., 8 novellas) (AKA: Jim Barnett Intervenes, Arsène Lupin Intervenes) The English edition includes The Bridge That Broke story, which was unpublished in France at the time.
  17. The Mysterious Mansion (La Demeure mystérieuse, 1929, novel) (AKA: The Melamare Mystery)
  18. The Emerald Cabochon (Le Cabochon d'émeraude (1930, novella)
  19. The Mystery of The Green Ruby (La Barre-y-va, 1931, novel)
  20. The Woman With Two Smiles (La Femme aux deux sourires, 1933, novel) (AKA: The Double Smile)
  21. Victor of the Vice Squad (Victor de la Brigade mondaine, 1933, novel) (AKA: The Return of Arsene Lupin)
  22. The Revenge of The Countess of Cagliostro (La Cagliostro se venge, 1935, novel)
  23. The Billions of Arsène Lupin (Les Milliards d'Arsène Lupin, 1939/1941, novel) - The official last book of the series, The Billions of Arsene Lupin, was serialised in 1939 and published posthumously as a book in 1941 - yet without the ninth chapter "The Safe" ("IX. Les coffres-forts"). This edition was latter withdrawn at the request of Leblanc's son. In 2002, through the efforts of some Lupinians and Korean translator Seong Gwi-Soo, the missing chapter was restored and the complete final Lupin novel published in Korea by Kachi Publishing House.[1] A complete French e-book is now also available,[2] as well as a printed edition by Editions Manucius (2015).[3]
  24. The Last Love of Arsene Lupin (Le Dernier Amour d'Arsène Lupin, 2012, novel)

Plays written by Leblanc

  1. Arsène Lupin (pièce de théâtre) Originally a 4-part play written by Maurice Leblanc and Francis de Croisset (1908), it was subsequently novelized by Edgar Jepson and published in 1909 by Doubleday as "Arsene Lupin: By Edgar Jepson"
  2. An Adventure of Arsène Lupin (1911)
  3. The Return of Arsène Lupin (1920) Written by Maurice Leblanc and Francis de Croisset.
  4. This Woman is Mine (Cette femme est à moi, (1930)
  5. A Quarter-hour with Arsène Lupin (Un quart d'heure avec Arsène Lupin, 1932)

By other writers

  1. Le Secret d’Eunerville (1973)
  2. La Poudrière (1974)
  3. Le Second visage d’Arsène Lupin (1975)
  4. La Justice d’Arsène Lupin (1977)
  5. Le Serment d’Arsène Lupin (1979)

Notable pastiches

In other media





Video games


External links

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