Francis Bayard (“The Sphinx”)

Created by Jean des Marcenelles
Pseudonym of Jean-Henri Dancoine
(1913-95)

Parisian private eye FRANCIS BAYARD appeared in a series of light-hearted short stories in Police-Privée and other French pulps from about 1938 until 1943, when he began appearing in his own series, Les Aventures du détective Francis Bayard, which would make him a contemporary of Leo Malet’s Nestor Burma.

According to the little info I’ve scraped up, Bayard–who for some reason sported a Harlequin mask, supposedly had a good rep as a detective, and had earned the nickname “The Sphinx” for his sometimes inscrutable methods–so we’re looking at more of a Great Detective/Phantomas type than yer typical Yankee hard-boiled private dick.

The author, Jean des Marchenelles, remains something of a mystery. Apparently his real name was Jean Dancoine, and he was a journalist from northern France, who turned to writing for the various French pulps. But after the relative success of Bayard, he turned to to the theater and ending up writing more than a hundred plays, some in collaboration with Marie-Louise Hespe, mostly comedies.

Still, someone must have liked the Bayard stories. In 2020, the French publisher Oxymoron began the selling individual stories as ebooks.

SHORT FICTION

  • Le Maitre des ombres (undated, from the forties; English translation: “The Master of the Shadows”)
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 1: Un cadavre sur les bras (2020) Kindle it!
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 2: Les trois sans femme (2020) Kindle it!
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 3: Le crime que j’ai commis (2020) Kindle it!
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 4: La morte en robe blanche (2020) Kindle it!
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 5: La maison des deux folles (2020)Kindle it!
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 6: Un pied sur l’échafaud (2020) Kindle it!
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 7: Le maître des ombres (2020) Kindle it!
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 8: Vengeance Bohémienne (2020) Kindle it!
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 9: La dactylo disparue (2020) Kindle it!
  • Les aventures de Francis Bayard Vol. 10: Le N°13 s’est échappé (2020) Kindle it!

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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