Arsène Lupin (The Gentleman Thief) Wiki, Story, Real Life Adaptations, Biography & More

Arsene Lupin

Arsène Lupin is a fictional character from the series of books and short stories ‘Arsene Lupin’ by French author Maurice Leblanc. The character was introduced in response to the fictional character created by Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Sherlock Holmes.’ The character was first introduced in a series of short stories published in ‘Je sais tout,’ a French magazine launched by Pierre Lafitte in 1905. The character is also known as ‘The Gentleman Thief’ and ‘Master of Disguise’ because of his impeccable manners, charm, and his ability to find ways to avoid physical force or violence.

The Tales of Arsène Lupin

Arsene Lupin is inspired by another literary fictional character Rocambole by Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail, and it is similar to E. W. Hornung’s fictional character of gentleman thief A. J. Raffles, who was popular from 1898 to 1909. Initially, the character was introduced through short stories in a French magazine. The first story, written by the French author Maurice Leblanc, was “The Arrest of Arsene Lupin,” which was published on 15 July 1905. Lupin has been featured in more than 17 novels and 39 short stories, which were then clubbed together to form a series of 24 books. The total number of books becomes 25, if we count the 1923 novel “The Secret Tomb” in which the main character, Dorothee, solves one of the four fabulous secrets of Lupin. Raffles and Lupin have been a huge inspiration for some characters like ‘The Lone Wolf’ (created in 1914) by Louis Joseph Vance and ‘The Saint’ (created in 1928) by Leslie Charteris.

Cover of the book The Arrest of Arsene Lupin

Cover of the book The Arrest of Arsene Lupin

A Fantasy World

Arsene Lupin novels are known for their thrilling and fantasy elements. Some of the fantasy elements that were present in the novel are a radioactive ‘god-stone,’ a ‘Fountain of Youth’ that restores the youth of anyone who drinks water from it or bathes in it, and the final surprising element is the revelation of Lupin’s lover, who is also her arch-enemy, Josephine Balsamo.

When Lupin met Sherlock Holmes

Leblanc decided to introduce Sherlock Holmes to the short story ‘Sherlock Home Arrives Too Late” in the 17th issue of the magazine Je sais tout. In the story, Holmes meets a young Lupin. However, after certain legal objections from Doyle regarding the name, Leblanc changed the name of the character to ‘Herlock Sholmes’ once the story was published in the full book form in Volume 1. Later, Sholmes became a part of two more stories collected in Volume 2; ‘Arsene Lupin Contre Herlock Sholmes,’ and Sholmes made a guest appearance in the secret of The Hollow Needle. The book ‘Arsene Lupin Contre Herlock Sholmes’ got published in the United States in 1910, and the title was changed to ‘The Blonde Lady’ in which the names were changed to Holmlock Shears, and ‘Wilson’ for Watson.

Cover of the book The Hollow Needle

Cover of the book The Hollow Needle

Lupin-Holmes entering the gaming world

In 2008, PC gaming company Frogwares and Focus Home Interactive launched a PC game featuring Arsene Lupin, Sherlock Holmes, Watson, etc. The game was called ‘Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsene Lupin’ in which Holmes is trying to stop Lupin from stealing five valuable British items.

Cover of the PC game Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsene Lupin

Cover of the PC game Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsene Lupin


Arsene Lupin is a fictional gentleman thief who is known for his chivalry, class, and charm as he steals expensive things from people. Lupin is a French thief who is known for stealing valuable things from high-security safes and from rich people. His unsuspecting behaviour while carrying out the thefts made him famous around the world.

Real Life Adaptation


Over the years, many directors have used Arsene Lupin and his stories as a plot for their movies. In 2004, Jean-Paul Salome directed a crime-adventure film Arsene Lupin. The film was based on a series of crime novels by Maurice Leblanc, and the film followed the life of Arsene Lupin from his childhood, through the death of his father, and his adulthood. The story also introduced a woman, Josephine, who uses a hypnotic drug to enslave people to her will. The story of the film was adapted from many of Leblanc’s stories like The Queen’s Necklace, The Arrest of Arsene Lupin, The Hollow Needle, etc.

Poster of the movie Arsene Lupin (2004)

Poster of the movie Arsene Lupin (2004)


The character of Arsene Lupin was so fascinating that it has appeared in several books, numerous films, stage plays, and even television series. With the popularity of the character, George Kay and Francois Uzan wrote the Netflix series Lupin. ‘Lupin’ is a French mystery thriller streaming television series which was released on 8 January 2021 on Netflix. The series follows a professional thief Assane Diop (played by Omar Sy) who moved to France with his father hoping for a better life. However, Assane’s father was framed for the robbery of an expensive diamond necklace by his wealthy employer Hubert Pellegrini. Assane’s father decided to hang himself in the prison out of shame, and twenty-five years later, Assane sets out to take revenge on the family by stealing the same expensive necklace during an auction. The first part of the series consists of ten episodes, and the second part of the series, with five episodes, is set to release in mid-2021.

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