Gaboriau was the first French novelist to write detective novels. His character Monsieur Lecoq, private detective, first appeared in the novel, "The Widow Lerouge". The novel begins: On February 20, 18-, a Sunday that chanced to be Shrove Sunday, about eleven o'clock in the evening, a party of agents of the safety-service left the police-station at the old Barriere d'Italie. The mission of this party was to explore that vast precinct which extends from the road to Fontainebleau to the Seine, and from the outer boulevards to the fortifications. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.