Émile Gaboriau is an important figure in the history of detective fiction. A French journalist and novelist, he created the "roman policier" with a series of books involving private detective Monsieur Lecoq, who works logically. Lecoq was based on a real-life thief turned policeman named Francois Vidocq (1775-1857), whose memoirs mixed fiction and fact. Gaboriau's huge following was eclipsed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Interestingly, Holmes may have been at least partly based on another of Gaboriau's characters, consulting detective Father Tabaret, whose methods Monsieur Lecoq adopts in the first Lecoq book.
The servants at the Hotel de Chalusse, one of the most magnificent mansions in the Rue de Courcelles in Paris, were assembled in the porter's lodge, a little building comprising a couple of rooms standing on the right hand side of the great gateway. Here, as in all large mansions, the "concierge" or porter, M. Bourigeau, was a person of immense importance, always able and disposed to make any one who was inclined to doubt his authority, feel it in cruel fashion. As could be easily seen, he held all the other servants in his power. He could let them absent themselves without leave, if he chose, and conceal all returns late at night after the closing of public balls and wine-shops. Thus, it is needless to say that M. Bourigeau and his wife were treated by their fellow-servants with the most servile adulation.
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