The Hollow Needle: The Further Adventures of Arsène Lupin

Naxos. Jan. 2024. tr. from French by Alexander Texeira de Mattos. 7:46 hrs. ISBN 9781781984871. $25. M
In this novel from 1909, Leblanc’s inimitable gentleman-thief Arsène Lupin matches wits against longtime foes Detective Ganimard and the English detective Herlock Sholmes, who are joined by the young, impossibly talented amateur detective Isidore Beautrelet. The book opens with a murder and a sophisticated robbery. While local authorities are stumped, sixth-form student Beautrelet determines the nature of the theft and pinpoints Lupin as its mastermind. Thus ensues a cat-and-mouse game through the French countryside, as Ganimard and Beautrelet, both harboring personal grudges against the dastardly Lupin, try to outwit their quarry before he takes hold of the legendary treasure, the Hollow Needle. Award-winning writer, director, and narrator David Timson provides a perfectly paced, entertaining performance for this audiobook, conveying Lupin’s supercilious snarkiness and Beautrelet’s impassioned inquiries with well-placed tonal shifts. Though some listeners may be confounded by the serpentine plot (perhaps because the novel first appeared as a serial), they will likely enjoy encountering a different side of this popular master of disguise.
VERDICT An intriguing classic that stands the test of time. Share with those who enjoy classic detective fiction and the popular Netflix series Lupin.
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