The descriptions of the
detectives and criminals pictured on the stamps is from the
booklet containing the stamps. The surcharge on each stamp was for the
French Red Cross.
serial-novels which newspaper readers devoured in the last century,
Rocambole was so popular that he gave his name to an adjective which
has passed into the current language: rocambolesque [fantastic,
incredible]. Capable of any misdeed, this not-so-commendable personage
created by Pierre-Alexis Ponson de Terrail (1829-1871), would,
however, take the side of the weak against the strong.
gentleman burglar was an aristocrat at heart, the "Cyrano of the
underworld" for Jean-Paul Sartre, who only robbed the rich when they
deserved it. Master of disguise, Arsène Lupin played all the parts and
usurped all the identities. His creator, Maurice Leblanc (1864-1941),
devoted about fifty novels to this eternal adventurer.
Lupin, Rouletabille was skilled at mystification and transformations
of all kinds, involving the reader in inextricable adventures. This
perspicacious amateur detective, very popular at the beginning of the
century, was quickly forsaken by his author, Gaston Leroux
(1868-1927), to the profit of another hero, Chéri-Bibi.
sportsman and elegant member of high society when not wearing his
mask, Fantômas transforms himself into a ferocious criminal as soon as
he slips into his black outfit. Created in 1911 by Pierre Souvestre
(1874-1914) and Marcel Allain (1885-1969), this evil genius terrorized
generations of readers, and was often brought to the screen.
massive silhouette and eternal pipe have become legendary. Created in
the '30s by Georges Simenon (1903-1989), Chief Inspector Maigret is
the incarnation par excellence of the humane police officer, who soaks
in situations to unravel them from the inside: "He watched for the
crack, the moment when the man behind the player appeared," Simenon
wrote of his hero.
ever cynical, savagely independent, funny and charming... in short,
typically French: Nestor Burma, the "private eye" par excellence,
created by Léo Malet (1909-1996), the father of the French black
novel. His masterpiece: New Mysteries of Paris, where Burma explores
one after another the fifteen districts of the capital.