I love how inspiring and petty Sherlock Holmes makes fictional detectives. Whether he’s foiling mysteries, showing up and helping Scooby Doo solve crimes, foiling police work, setting impossible standards, what have you!
In this book from 1907, French writer Maurice Le Blanc invents someone somewhere in between a detective and a criminal. Mostly he’s there to propose mysteries impossible for others to figure out and to solve puzzles others have failed to solve. In the first couple stories from this collection, he’s mostly being a master of disguise. His disguises are elaborate and severe. In one, he’s injecting paraffin into his face and scoring his skin with acid and effecting a limp for months, and all kinds of other things.
He’s clearly mean to be a parody and a satire. For one, his biggest rival is named Holmlock Shears and sometimes Herlock Sholmes, depending on the story. He’s often presented as doing the same kinds of thing that Holmes does in his stories, but in more ridiculous ways, and sometimes he’s specifically asked to solved riddles and puzzles that baffles Holmes.
But like a lot of good parody, he’s also a good detective/ puzzle solver, and it’s clear that given the prolific number of stories and novels that Arsene Lupin appears in, the parody takes on a life of its own and outgrows its subject.
Also, here’s a fun thing I didn’t know. Arsene Lupin is the namesake of Lupin III from The Castle of Caglisotro from Lupin III.