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Messengers of Evil

Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain

Book Overview: 

Fantômas was introduced a few years after Arsène Lupin, another well-known thief. But whereas Lupin draws the line at murder, Fantômas has no such qualms and is shown as a sociopath who enjoys killing in a sadistic fashion. He is totally ruthless, gives no mercy, and is loyal to none, not even his own children. He is a master of disguise, always appearing under an assumed identity, often that of a person whom he has murdered. Fantômas makes use of bizarre and improbable techniques in his crimes, such as plague-infested rats, giant snakes, and rooms that fill with sand.
Messengers of Evil begins when “... Baroness de Vibray, well known in the Parisian world and among artists, whose generous patroness she was, has been found dead in the studio of the ceramic painter, Jacques Dollon.” It ends with Fantomas' escape once again, and with Juve receiving a humiliating rebuke from the supreme head of the police detective department. But the chase has not ended.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .s—yes, these men bore a heavy burden!"

Fandor was so pleased that he mentally rubbed his hands over this discovery. His quest was a success so far: he was on the track of Dollon's body! And what copy for La Capitale! Then a sad thought came to dim his delight:

"Poor, poor Elizabeth Dollon! I swore to her I would get at the truth—and a lamentable truth it is! Her brother is dead: he died in the Dépôt: he was done to death—it was no suicide!"

Whilst talking to himself Fandor was scrutinising every inch of the ground as he moved forward: there might be fresh clues:

"It's a queer kind of sewer," he went on. "This streamlet is as much mud as water, is almost stagnant. Evidently this underground sewer way is no longer used—has been abandoned!"

A horrid spectacle struck him motionless. His lantern made visible a struggling, heaving mass of rats, fighting tooth and claw, enormous rats devouring so. . . Read More