Eugéne Valmont was created by Robert Barr and appeared in eight stories in Windsor Magazine and Pearson's Magazine in 1904 and 1905 and were later collected into this book.
Valmont is a Frenchman of the old school who undertakes private investigations of a too liberal latitude to qualify him at all times as a crime specialist; but, despite his romantic adventures and glaring failures, he is an interesting character.
He's a careful investigator (though not particularly successful), a former Chief Detective to the Government of France (he was forced to retire in disgrace), and carries himself with surety and no small amount of flair.
He's a master of disguise, and is distrustful of both the Americans and the British. Valmont was an influence on Agatha Christie and is a predecessor of Hercule Poirot.
In his stories he takes on jewel thieves, terrorist anarchists, kleptomaniac English noblemen, a mysterious will, and con men, among others. Unlike holmes, Valmont's ego may exceed his ability a bit.
And speaking of Holmes, there is an appendix that features two stories by Barr that parody Holmes: The Adventures of Sherlaw Kombs and The Adventures of the Second Swag. These are stand alone stories and don't feature the more serious Eugéne Valmont character.
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