Arsène Lupin

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For the manga character, see Arsène Lupin III. For other uses, see Arsène Lupin (disambiguation).
Arsène Lupin
First appearance Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar
Created by Maurice Leblanc
Species Human
Gender Male
Occupation Gentleman thief
Nationality French

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

Lupin was featured in 20 novels and 28 short stories by Leblanc, with the short stories collected into book form for a total of 24 books. The first story, "L'Arrestation d'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.


Arsene Lupin Contre Herlock Sholmes

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.

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.

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.

The official last book of the series, The Billions of Arsene Lupin, was published without the ninth chapter "The Safe" ("IX. Les coffres-forts"), and even the published book was withdrawn at Leblanc's son's request. However, in 2002, by the efforts of some Lupinians and Korean translator Sung Gwi-Su, the missing part was restored and the complete final collection of Arsene Lupin happened to be published first in Korea, from Kkachi Publishing House.

Arsène Lupin and Sherlock Holmes[edit]

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, 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 British valuable 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.

Fantasy elements[edit]

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.


  1. Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar (Arsène Lupin, gentleman cambrioleur, 1907 coll., 9 stories) (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)
  4. 813 (813, 1910)
  5. The Crystal Stopper (Le Bouchon de cristal, 1912)
  6. The Confessions of Arsene Lupin (Les Confidences d'Arsène Lupin, 1913 coll., 9 stories)
  7. The Shell Shard (L'Éclat d'obus, 1916) (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) (AKA: The Return of Arsène Lupin)
  9. The Island of Thirty Coffins (L’Île aux trente cercueils, 1919) (AKA: The Secret of Sarek)
  10. The Teeth of The Tiger (Les Dents du tigre, 1921)
  11. The Eight Strokes of The Clock (Les Huit Coups de l'horloge, 1923 coll., 8 stories)
  12. The Countess of Cagliostro (La Comtesse de Cagliostro, 1924) (AKA: Memoirs of Arsene Lupin)
  13. The Damsel With Green Eyes (La Demoiselle aux yeux verts, 1927) (AKA: The Girl With the Green Eyes, Arsène Lupin, Super Sleuth)
  14. The Overcoat of Arsène Lupin (Le Pardessus d'Arsène Lupin, published in English in 1926) First published in 1924 in France as 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.
  15. The Man with the Goatskin (L'Homme à la peau de bique (1927)
  16. The Barnett & Co. Agency (L'Agence Barnett et Cie., 1928 coll., 8 stories) (AKA: Jim Barnett Intervenes, Arsène Lupin Intervenes)
  17. The Mysterious Mansion (La Demeure mystérieuse, 1929) (AKA: The Melamare Mystery)
  18. The Mystery of The Green Ruby (La Barre-y-va, 1930)
  19. The Emerald Cabochon (Le Cabochon d'émeraude (1930)
  20. The Woman With Two Smiles (La Femme aux deux sourires, 1933) (AKA: The Double Smile)
  21. Victor of the Vice Squad (Victor de la Brigade mondaine, 1933) (AKA: The Return of Arsene Lupin)
  22. The Revenge of The Countess of Cagliostro (La Cagliostro se venge, 1935)
  23. The Billions of Arsène Lupin (Les Milliards d'Arsène Lupin, 1939)
  24. The Last Love of Arsene Lupin (Le Dernier Amour d'Arsène Lupin, 2012)

Other material by LeBlanc[edit]

  1. Arsène Lupin (Arsène Lupin (pièce de théâtre) Originally a 4-part play written by Maurice LeBlanc and Francis de Croisset, it was subsequently novelized by LeBlanc and published in 1909. It was then translated into English by Edgar Jepson and published in 1909 by Doubleday as "Arsene Lupin: By Maurice LeBlanc & Edgar Jepson"

By other writers[edit]

  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[edit]

Other Reading[edit]




Comics and animation[edit]

  • Les Exploits d'Arsène Lupin aka Night Hood, produced by Cinar & France-Animation, 26 episodes for 24 min. in (1996)
  • Lupin III, the grandson of Arsène Lupin, a character created by Monkey Punch for a series of manga, anime television shows, movies and OVA's based in Japan and around the world. Because Monkey Punch did not seek permission to use the character from the Leblanc estate, the character was renamed in the early English adaptations and also had to be renamed when the anime series was broadcast on French TV.
  • Soul Eater episode 3, the introduction of Death The Kid and the Thompson Sisters initially depicts them chasing the demonic form of Arsène Lupin so that the sisters could claim and devour his soul. When Death The Kid begins panicking about the lack of symmetry with the sisters and their appearances, Lupin escapes down a manhole and is not seen for the rest of the episode.
  • Hidan no Aria episode 4, Riko Mine reveals that she is a descendant of Arsène Lupin after she hijacked the airplane that Aria took. She also reveals Aria's identity as the descendant of Sherlock Holmes.
  • Kaito Kid from the manga series Magic Kaito and Detective Conan is often compared to Arsene Lupin. Lupin is also highlighted in volume 4 of the Detective Conan manga's edition of "Gosho Aoyama's Mystery Library", a section of the graphic novels (usually the last page) where the author introduces a different detective (or in this case, a villain/detective) from literature.
  • There is also an ongoing manga adaptation of Arsène Lupin first published in 2011, from Gundam artist Takashi Morita.


Arsene Lupin, as he appeared in volume 4 of Case Closed
  • Arsène Lupin, written by Georges Cheylard, art by Bourdin. Daily strip published in France-Soir in 1948-49.
  • Arsène Lupin, written & drawn by Jacques Blondeau. 575 daily strips published in Le Parisien Libéré from 1956-58.
  • Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès: La Dame blonde, written by Joëlle Gilles, art by Gilles & B. Cado, published by the authors, 1983.
  • Arsène Lupin, written by André-Paul Duchateau, artist Géron, published by C. Lefrancq.
    1. Le Bouchon de cristal (1989)
    2. 813 — La Double Vie d'Arsène Lupin (1990)
    3. 813 — Les Trois crimes d'Arsène Lupin (1991)
    4. La Demoiselle aux yeux verts (1992)
    5. L'Aiguille creuse (1994)
  • Arpin Lusène is featured as a character in the Donald Duck & Co stories The Black Knight (1997), Attaaaaaack! (2000) and The Black Knight GLORPS again! (2004) by Don Rosa.
  • In Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, Lupin is featured as a member of Les Hommes Mysterieux, the French analogue of Britain's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Video games[edit]

  • Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin (known in North America and some parts of England as Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis) is an adventure game for Windows-compatible computers. It was developed by the game development studio Frogwares, and released in October, 2007. The game follows Holmes and Watson as Holmes is challenged by the legendary gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, who threatens to steal England's most prized treasures.[2]
  • Various video games based on the Japanese manga Lupin III.
  • Arsène is a Persona in the upcoming JRPG Persona 5, belonging to the protagonist. Arsène dons a top hat and cravat in reference to its literary counterpart, symbolizing his and the protagonist's role as a thief.


External links[edit]