Arsène Lupin

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Arsène Lupin
Arsene Lupin in Case Closed.jpg
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[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.

Arsène Lupin and Sherlock Holmes[edit]

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 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) (a.k.a. Exploits of Arsène Lupin, Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin)
  2. Arsene Lupin vs. Herlock Sholmes (Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès, 1908 coll., 2 stories) (a.k.a. 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[edit]

  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[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]

  • The Adventure of Mona Lisa by Carolyn Wells in The Century (January, 1912)
  • Sure Way to Catch Every Criminal. Ha! Ha! by Carolyn Wells in The Century (July, 1912)
  • The Adventure of the Clothes-Line by Carolyn Wells in The Century (May, 1915)
  • Dorothée, Danseuse de Corde (1923) (The Secret Tomb) an eponymous heroine solves one of Arsène Lupin's four fabulous secrets.
  • The Silver Hair Crime (= Clue?) by Nick Carter in New Magnet Library No. 1282 (1930)
  • Aristide Dupin who appears in Union Jack Nos. 1481, 1483, 1489, 1493 and 1498 (1932) in the Sexton Blake collection by Gwyn Evans
  • La Clé est sous le paillasson by Marcel Aymé (1934)
  • Gaspard Zemba who appears in The Shadow Magazine (December 1, 1935) by Walter B. Gibson
  • Arsène Lupin vs. Colonel Linnaus by Anthony Boucher in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Vo. 5, No. 19 (1944)
  • L’Affaire Oliveira by Thomas Narcejac in Confidences dans ma nuit (1946)
  • Le Gentleman en Noir by Claude Ferny (c. 1950) (two novels)
  • International Investigators, Inc. by Edward G. Ashton in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (February 1952)
  • Le Secret des rois de France ou La Véritable identité d’Arsène Lupin by Valère Catogan (1955)
  • In Compartment 813 by Arthur Porges in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (June 1966)
  • Arsène Lupin, gentleman de la nuit by Jean-Claude Lamy (1983)
  • Various stories in the Tales of the Shadowmen anthology series, ed. by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier, Black Coat Press (2005-ongoing)
  • The exploits of Arsène Lupin inspired an entire Phantom thief (Kaitō) subgenre of Japanese media.
  • Arsène Lupin is referred to as the grandfather of Lupin III in the Japanese manga series of the same name created by Monkey Punch. Arsène himself appears in chapter 37 of the series.
  • 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 the great-granddaughter 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 Gosho Aoyama's manga series Magic Kaito and Detective Conan is often compared to Arsene Lupin. Lupin is also highlighted in volume 4 of "Gosho Aoyama's Mystery Library", a section of the Detective Conan graphic novels where the author introduces a different detective (or in this case, a villain/detective) from literature.
  • Meimi Haneoka, who "transforms" into Kaitō Saint Tail heavily inspired by Arsene Lupin, a thief with acrobatic and magician skills, from Saint Tail by Megumi Tachikawa.
  • Chizuko Mikamo, from the manga Nijū Mensō no Musume.
  • In the Adventure of The Doraemons, the robot cat The Mysterious Thief Dorapent resembles Lupin.
  • A funny animal pastiche of Arsène Lupin is Arpin Lusène, of the Scrooge McDuck Universe.
  • Případ Grendwal (A Grendwal Case), a play by Pavel Dostál, Czech playwright and Minister of Culture
  • Tuxedo Mask from the manga series Sailor Moon, also resembles Arsène Lupin.
  • Arsène Lupin et le mystère d'Arsonval by Michel Zink
  • Qui fait peur à Virginia Woolf ? (... Élémentaire mon cher Lupin !) by Gabriel Thoveron
  • Crimes parfaits by Christian Poslaniec
  • La Dent de Jane by Daniel Salmon (2001)
  • Les Lupins de Vincent by Caroline Cayol et Didier Cayol (2006)
  • Code Lupin by Michel Bussi (2006)
  • The Prisoner of the Tower, or A Short But Beautiful Journey of Three Wise Men (Узница башни, или Краткий, но прекрасный путь трёх мудрых) by Boris Akunin in a selection of stories The Jade Beads (Нефритовые чётки) (2006, in Russian). Arsène Lupin appears in this novella with Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and Akunin's own characters Erast Fandorin and Masa, the Japanese. The story is dedicated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Maurice Leblanc.
  • L'Église creuse by Patrick Genevaux (2009) (short story)
  • The Many Faces of Arsène Lupin collection of short stories edited by Jean-Marc Lofficier & Randy Lofficier (Black Coat Press, 2012)
  • In Kamen Rider Drive's portion of Drive & Gaim: Movie War Full Throttle, Drive is involved in a case with a phantom thief named Zoruku Tojo who also calls himself Ultimate Lupin. Tojo used to be a famous phantom thief but was forced to quit when he became old. Six months after the Global Freeze, he uncovered Cyberiod ZZZ and transferred his consciousness into it and is able to assume many disguises including his younger appearance. Tojo copies Mashin Chaser's Break Gunner to create the Lupin Gunner to transform into Kamen Rider Lupin and defeats both Mashin Chaser and Drive, taking the Kamen Rider title from the latter. Tojo impersonates Kiriko Shijima until he is found out by Shinnosuke Tomari. The two fight one last time with Drive defeating Lupin, with the latter accepting defeat and relinquishes the Kamen Rider title back to Drive. Tojo's consciousness inhabits a Bat Viral Core and promises Shinnosuke that they will meet again.
  • The 1915 film Filibus features a female air pirate strongly redolent of Lupin, whose adventures were likely an influence on the film's screenplay.[4]

In other media[edit]





  • 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.
  • There is an ongoing manga adaptation of Arsène Lupin first published in 2011, from Gundam artist Takashi Morita.

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.[6]
  • Persona 5 features a being known as a Persona that is inspired by and named after Arsène Lupin. The Persona's master, the protagonist, also resides in the attic of a cafe named Leblanc, a reference to Maurice Leblanc.
  • Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~, an otome game for the PlayStation Vita, features several fictional characters as potential romantic interests for the player character. The main male character is a gentleman thief named Arsène Lupin.


External links[edit]