Johnny Métal

Created by Frank Harding
Pseudonym of Léon Jean Malet

Before he struck gold with Nestor Burma, France’s Léo Malet wrote several books featuring coldly professional tough guy New York reporter JOHNNY MÉTAL (an anagram of of Malet!), who acted very much like an American-style hard-boiled private eye, narrated by Johnny in first person, dripping with disdain and cynicism. Even the pseudonym Malet used, Frank Harding, sounds sorta American.

Malet published his  last Johnny Metal in 1948, but continued to write under a number of pseudonyms until 1952.

Born Léon Jean Malet, he adopted the shortened version, Léo, when as a teenager he was introduced to anarchist groupings in his home town of Montpellier.


  • Johnny Métal (1941)
  • A bord du Vaisseau fantôme (1943?)
  • Aux mains des réducteurs de têtes (1945)
  • Miss Chandler en danger (1946)
  • Le dé de jade (1947)
  • Affaire double (1948)
  • Le gang mystérieux (1952)
  • Trois enquêtes de Frank Harding (1953?)
  • Excellent pour les nerfs (1983)


  • Nestor Burma
    Jean-Marc Lofficier’s English language site dedicated to Burma has everything you ever wanted to know about the détective de choc.
  • Zut! Les Flics Privés
    Our preliminary list of French eyes.
  • Stop the Presses!
    Newsroom Eyes and Others Newshawks
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Marcel Bernadac and David Nobriga for help with this one!

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