Criminal exploits, secret agent intrigue, and clever -disguises fill the pages of Francois Eugene Vidocqâs memoirs. A legendary figure in history, Vidocq is known as the first detective and an inspiration to great writers such as Honore de Balzac, Victor Hugo and Edgar Allen Poe. As a player in the criminal underworld, Vidocq is a master of disguises and an accomplished thief, eventually turning his unlawful talents toward catching criminals as the first French chief of secret police. Playing both sides of the law, Vidocqâs life highlights the blurry line between law enforcement and the criminals they pursue. Vidocq has a knack for finding trouble throughout his topsy-turvy life, getting into one hot situation after another, often finding himself behind bars, only to escape the first chance he gets. This book will take you on a whirlwind tour of 1830s France, including the circus stage, pirate ships, prison cells and beautiful womenâs boudoirs. Vidocqâs life story is unforgettable and includes some of the best crime stories and juicy tales ever written. Last year, Gerard Depardieu starred in the French film adaptation of the memoirs, -titled Vidocq.
"He preferred the tumultuous life of danger to the contentment of security. His story is one long swashbuckling adventure as he breaks out of jails, pursues actresses, duels to the death, raids the hells of criminals and stalks the Paris night in a thousand disguises."âPhilip John Stead, Vidocq, Picaroon of Crime
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