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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

Community Reviews

N'ayant uniquement vu que les séries télévisées et les films de Fantomas, j'ai voulu sauter sur un des livres.
Et j'ai vraiment bien aimé.
Histoire bien menée ....Rebondissements....
Il m'a bel et bien donné envie de connaitre les autres romand de Fantomas.

What I've liked most about the Fantomas series so far is their deliciously unhinged quality. Reading them alongside the almost contemporary Arsene Lupin stories, Fantomas comes across as Lupin's psycopathic alter-ego. Whereas Lupin never kills and is a gentleman thief, Fantomas revels in the most...more

Great noir detective serial from the turn of the last century. Deception, lunacy, gallows humor, intense cruelty -- this has it all. A series of murders and cover-ups leads a Parisian journalist to stalk the fabled criminal mastermind, Fantomas, in search of the story. But the always ingenious ma...more

Fantômas strikes again! The third book in the series is as nail-bitingly good as its predecessors. At certain points of the narrative, I had to cover with my hand the lower parts of the page so that I wouldn't skip ahead to see what happened. Compulsive reading!

Focussing mainly on the investigati...more

The Fantomas book "The Corpse Who Kills" is pretty great for various reasons. One, I like how 'the criminal underworld' is portrayed in the book. It has sort of a dreamy sub-culture vibe about it, where the criminals have their own set of rules - and Paris itself is part of the narrative or chara...more

My least favorite of the three ultra-violent, uber-surreal FANTOMAS series, and yet... there are scenes I can't get out of my head.

A gang doles out punishment to an informer... by each striking him once in the head with a hammer.

The murder of an innocent suspect in a locked jail cell. And then th...more

My least favorite of the three ultra-violent, uber-surreal FANTOMAS series, and yet... there are scenes I can't get out of my head.

A gang doles out punishment to an informer... by each striking him once in the head with a hammer.

The murder of an innocent suspect in a locked jail cell. And then th...more

The third in the Fantomas series and the third I've read; this installment struck me as more polished than the first two, and structured more like a classic mystery, with clues scattered throughout and murders and unseen villains always one step ahead of the investigators, then climaxing in a gra...more

Suicides that look like murders and vice versa entwine amongst baffling robberies and competing masters of disguise! In short, it's the stuff we've come to expect from this continuing series about The Prince of Crime. The title character is a painter named Dollon who is arrested for a mysterious...more

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