Outside in World | Browse Books
Use our Book Finder to search for books by Title (or part of the title), Author, ISBN, Age Range, Keyword, or Continent/Country. Then simply click the magnifying glass to start your search.
‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Arsene Lupin Vs Sherlock Holmes
by Maurice Leblanc
Age Range: 14+
Arsène Lupin Vs Sherlock Holmes by French author Maurice Leblanc (1864-1941) contains two stories – 'The Blond Lady' and 'The Jewish Lamp' – in a brand new English translation from the Alma Books classic series. These stories display a battle of wits between a French gentleman thief and master of disguise Arsène Lupin and the world's most famous British detective Sherlock Holmes.
In 'The Blonde Lady', when an antique desk is stolen from Monsieur Gerbois a mathematics teacher, it turns out that Arsène Lupin is behind the theft. Later, both Lupin and Gerbois realise that a lottery ticket, left in the desk, is the winning ticket. This is just the beginning of Lupin's antics as he proceeds to ensure that he obtains half of the winnings as well as to elude the local police chief Ganimard with a mysterious blond lady who acts as his accomplice. After a second theft of a Blue Diamond involving a murder, and again, implicating an unknown blonde woman, Ganimard, frustrated by the elusive Lupin, appeals to Herlock Sholmes to help him catch the master thief once and for all. The battle then commences and it is very much a case of who can outfox who!
'The Jewish Lamp', opens with another appeal to Herlock Sholmes for help by the owners of a Jewish lamp which has been stolen. The case has all the hallmarks of Lupin and Sholmes is eager to get involved. Outraged by Lupin's audacity at attempting to warm him off, Sholmes heads off for Paris once again to do battle with the master thief.
Lupin was featured in 19 novels and 36 short stories by Leblanc, with the short stories collected into book form for a total of 24 books. Sherlock Holmes was first introduced in a short story 'Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late'. Both the stories in this volume were originally written in the magazine Je sais tout : 'The Blond Lady' in 1906/7 and the shorter novella 'The Jewish Lamp' in 1907.
In the introduction by the translator David Carter, who has created a wonderfully flowing translation that has lost none of Leblanc's wit, he explains that after legal objections from Conan Doyle, the name was changed from Sherlock Holmes to 'Herlock Sholmes and Watson became Wilson.
Although both stories bear all the elements of classic detective fiction, what makes them so entertaining is the irony and tongue-in-cheek dialogue as well as the evident parody. While Lupin is depicted as a gentleman who is extremely witty, charming and adored by women, he is also cunning and sly with a brilliance for almost outwitting the dour Herlock Sholmes with his clever manoeuvring. Sholmes, on the other hand, is seen as rather cold and unfeeling, while Wilson is either pompous or hapless, always ending up as the fall-guy in both stories because he spends most of his time recovering from injuries sustained as a direct result of becoming involved with Lupin.
There is some useful additional material at the back of the book to give more context to the stories with details about the author, characters, a quiz and glossary.
For any crime fiction fan this is a must read as there is enough mystery and suspense to keep them hooked, but for any reader these intriguing, witty stories will hold their attention too.