In this first volume of a planned three-volume set, the reader is introduced to Arse'ne Lupin, the Gentleman Burglar of France. Maurice Leblanc made the fictional character famous in a series of short stories and novels just after the turn of the century approximately 100 years ago. Arse'ne Lupin, in a sense, was France's answer to the exploits of the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Various meetings between the men on opposite sides make up the two short stories and the novel "The Hollow Needle” found in this book.
“The Hollow Needle” opens with Raymonde de Saint-Ve'ran being awoken by sounds of intruders below her room in the country castle. She discovers they are being robbed and with the Count unconscious, takes matters into her own capable hands. As the last burglar runs away from her home, she manages to shoot and wound him at long range. The intruder goes down, and then begins to crawl away as she goes downstairs to begin the pursuit. Once outside she quickly goes to the point where she last saw him and discovers that he has vanished. A search of the grounds and surrounding farmland is commenced by the servants with no success and by dawn the gendarmes are called in.
An investigation is launched by the local magistrate and numerous clues are discovered. Also found is a note threatening the young woman's life if she has managed to fatally wound the boss. Two young reporters are allowed total and complete access to the case and every detail discovered. It quickly becomes apparent that one of the reporters isn't a reporter after all. Instead, he is a young high school student who is using the situation as a learning experience. Isidore Beautrelet is his name and he quickly puts together several of the clues leading the investigation towards Lupin and his gang. What follows is a cat and mouse game as Isidore, with Sherlock not available due to his being kidnapped, leads the investigation on behalf of the authorities in a pursuit of Lupin. Lupin, master of disguises and plans, constantly eludes the authorities and Isidore while a fascinated nation watches and reads all about it in the papers.
This report prepared by Kevin R. Tipple