Émile Gaboriau

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Émile Gaboriau
Emile Gaboriau BNF Gallica.jpg
Born(1832-11-09)9 November 1832
Saujon, France
Died28 September 1873(1873-09-28) (aged 40)
Paris, France
GenreDetective fiction
Notable worksMonsieur Lecoq (1868)

Émile Gaboriau (9 November 1832 – 28 September 1873) was a French writer, novelist, journalist, and a pioneer of detective fiction.

Early life[edit]

Gaboriau was born in the small town of Saujon, Charente-Maritime. He was the son of Charles Gabriel Gaboriau, a public official and his mother was Marguerite Stéphanie Gaboriau. Gaboriau became a secretary to Paul Féval, and after publishing some novels and miscellaneous writings, found his real gift in L'Affaire Lerouge (1866).[1][2]

Literary life[edit]

L'Affaire Lerouge, which was Gaboriau's first detective novel, introduced an amateur detective. It also introduced a young police officer named Monsieur Lecoq, who was the hero in three of Gaboriau's later detective novels. The character of Lecoq was based on a real-life thief turned police officer, Eugène François Vidocq (1775–1857), whose own memoirs, Les Vrais Mémoires de Vidocq, mixed fiction and fact. It may also have been influenced by the villainous Monsieur Lecoq, one of the main protagonists of Féval's Les Habits Noirs book series.

The book was published in Le Siècle and at once made his reputation. Gaboriau gained a huge following, but when Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, Monsieur Lecoq's international fame declined. The story was produced on the stage in 1872. A long series of novels dealing with the annals of the police court followed, and proved very popular.[2] Gaboriau died in Paris of pulmonary apoplexy.

Gaboriau's books were generally well received. About The Mystery of the Orcival, Harper's wrote in 1872: "Of its class of romance—French sensational—this is a remarkable and unique specimen".[3] A film version of Le Dossier n° 113 (File No. 113) was released in 1932.[4]

In A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle has Watson ask Sherlock Holmes what he thinks of Gaboriau's work. Holmes disparages Lecoq as "a miserable bungler".


First edition of Monsieur Lecoq


Mariages d'aventure[edit]

  1. Monsieur J.-D. de Saint-Roch, ambassadeur matrimonial – The Matrimonial Ambassador: Monsieur J. D. de Saint-Roch (1862)
  2. Promesses de mariage – Promises of Marriage (1862)

Lecoq & Others[edit]

  1. L'Affaire Lerouge (1866) – The Widow Lerouge / The Lerouge Affair
  2. Le Crime d'Orcival (1867) – The Mystery of Orcival
  3. Le Dossier n° 113 (1867) – Dossier No. 113 / The Blackmailers
  4. Les Esclaves de Paris (1868, 2 vol.) – Slaves of Paris (Le Chantage – Caught in the Net) and (Le Secret de la Maison de Champdoce – The Champdoce Mystery)
  5. Monsieur Lecoq (1869, 2 vol. – L'Enquête – The Inquiry / Monsieur Lecoq / The Detective's Dilemma) and ( L'Honneur du nom – The Honor of the Name / The Detective's Triumph)
  6. La Vie infernale (1870, 2 vol.) – The Count's Millions (Pascal et Marguerite – The Count's Millions) and (Lia d'Argeles – Baron Trigault's Vengeance)
  7. La Clique dorée (1871) – The Clique of Gold / The Gilded Clique
  8. La Dégringolade (1872) – Catastrophe / The Downward Path
  9. La Corde au cou (1873) – Rope Around His Neck / In Peril of His Life / In Deadly Peril
  10. L'Argent des autres (1874) – Other People's Money / A Great Robbery
  11. Une Disparition (1876) – A Disappearance / Missing! / 1000 Francs Reward


  • Le treizième Hussards (1861) – The 13th Hussars
  • Les Gens de Bureau (1862) – The Men of the Bureau
  • Les comédiennes adorées (1863)
  • Le Petit Vieux des Batignolles (1876) – The Little Old Man of Batignolles
  • Le Capitaine Coutanceau (1878) – Captain Coutanceau
  • Maudite maison (1876) – The Unfortunate House
  • Casta vixit (1876) – Love, the Conqueror
  • Amours d'une empoisonneuse (1881) – Intrigues of a Poisoner / An Adventuress of France / The Marquise De Brinvilliers



  1. ^ "Biography of Emile Gaboriau". online-literature.com. n.d. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Gaboriau, Émile". Encyclopædia Britannica. 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 381.
  3. ^ "Editor's literary record" (PDF), Harper's Magazine: 781, April 1872[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1932/02/20/archives/a-gaboriau-novel.html

External links[edit]