From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Émile Gaboriau (9 november 1832 – 28 september 1873) was a French writer, novelist, and journalist, and a pioneer of detective fiction. He introduced a young police officer named Monsieur Lecoq, who was the hero in three of Gaboriau's detective novels. The character of Lecoq was based on a real-life thief turned police officer, Eugène François Vidocq (1775–1857), whose own memoirs, Les Vrais Mémoires de Vidocq, mixed fiction and fact. It may also have been influenced by the villainous Monsieur Lecoq, one of the main protagonists of Féval's Les Habits Noirs book series. The book was published in "Le Siècle" and at once made his reputation. Gaboriau gained a huge following, but when Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, Monsieur Lecoq's international fame declined. The story was produced on the stage in 1872. A long series of novels dealing with the annals of the police court followed, and proved very popular. Gaboriau died in Paris of pulmonary apoplexy.
Conan Doyle and Gaboriau
- A Talk with Dr. Conan Doyle (1892) : Arthur Conan Doyle said: « The best detective in fiction is Edgar Allan Poe's Monsieur Dupin; then Monsieur Le Cocq, Gaboriau's hero. »
- To Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1912) : In this poem adressed to Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur Guiterman mentions Gaboriau in 2 verses.
- Memories and Adventures (1923) : Arthur Conan Doyle wrote: Gaboriau had rather attracted me by the neat dovetailing of his plots.
In Conan Doyle stories
- [SH] A Study in Scarlet (1887) : Sherlock Holmes mentioned Gaboriau : « Have you read Gaboriau's works? Does Lecoq come up to your idea of a detective? Lecoq was a miserable bungler, he had only one thing to recommend him, and that was his energy. That book made me positively ill. The question was how to identify an unknown prisoner. I could have done it in twenty-four hours. Lecoq took six months or so. It might be made a text-book for detectives to teach them what to avoid. (368)