Nestor Burma

Created by Léo Malet (1909-96) Mesdames et messieurs, ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce to you France's answer to Chandler's Marlowe, the one and only, NESTOR BURMA--detective de choc! Malet was heavily influenced by Chandler, Hammett, et al, and Burma's first appearance, in 120, rue de la gare (1943), ushered in a whole new era in French … Continue reading Nestor Burma

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 … Continue reading Francis Bayard (“The Sphinx”)

Eugène Tarpon

Created by Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995) EUGÈNE TARPON is a real, honest-to-goodness, hard-boiled Parisian private eye, who appeared in two novels by the legendary French noirista, Jean-Patrick Manchette, as well as  a couple of films. Tarpon's right out of the pages of the American detective pulps of the thirties and forties, but painted black. When we … Continue reading Eugène Tarpon


Created by Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995) and Jacques Tardi (1946--) GRIFFU is the battered and betrayed legal adviser/punching bag hero of a real rock 'em, sock 'em hard-boiled detective story initially serialized in BD in 1977, and eventually published as a very stylish  graphic novel. I'm put in mind of Paul Simon's "The Boxer". Like the … Continue reading Griffu

Philippe Roche, Maxime Roche & Nora Abadie (Détectives)

Created by Marc Eisenchteter and Stéphane Kazandjian Here's some more private eye action... comme vous l'aimez. For years I've been waiting for a good P.I. procedural to come along on television. Something like Ed McBain's 87th Precinct, but with private eyes, following the inner workings and investigations of a working detective agency. I always thought … Continue reading Philippe Roche, Maxime Roche & Nora Abadie (Détectives)

René Griffon

Created by Didier Daeninckx (1949--) RENÉ GRIFFON is a French veteran of the trenches of The great War turned private investigator who makes his one and only appearance in the wrenching Le der des ders (translates as "the war to end all wars."), a 1984 French novel which offered a hard and unflinching look at France's role … Continue reading René Griffon

Claude Alphand

Created by Claude Ollier and Hugo Santiago In Écoute voir..., a 1979 French film, world class beauty Catherine Deneuve plays CLAUDE ALPHAND, a private eye who dresses like a man, favoring a fedora and trenchcoat (this is a clue). She's summoned to the castle of a young nobleman and scholar Arnaud de Maule  to investigate an attempted … Continue reading Claude Alphand

Lew Millar

Created by Ross Macdonald What does it take for Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer to hit the big screen under his own name? In the first two feature films, Harper and The Drowning Pool, Paul Newman was called Lew Harper, and in Robert Benton's Twilight, which strived to out-Macdonald Macdonald, the private eye (once more played … Continue reading Lew Millar