One of the most popular characters in the history of French crime fiction, Fantômas was created in 1911 and appeared in a total of 32 volumes written by the two collaborators, then a subsequent 11 volumes written by Allain alone after Souvestre's death. The character was also the basis of various film, television, and comic book adaptations. His importance in the history of crime fiction cannot be overestimated, as he represents a transition from Gothic novel villains of the 1800s, to modern-day serial killers.
"In the mode reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and his ineradicable nemesis, the virtually immortal Professor Moriarty, Inspector Juve dedicates himself to the relentless pursuit of that evil genius Fantomas. He is, as they say in petrified Paris, "Nothing. . . Everything. . . Nobody. . . Somebody." And what does he do? He "spreads terror," diabolically, craftily beyond all imagining: slashes throats of kindly old ladies; stuffs strangled British socialites into trunks; boldly robs Russian princesses in their hotel rooms; pushes witnesses off speeding trains to their deaths. Can Juve prevail against that hellish power?" --Publishers Weekly