René Reouven

René Reouven is one of the most interesting French authors I have come across in my discovery of the French-language mystery landscape. An excellent article on Reouven can be found At the Villa Rose, the wonderful blog of Xavier Lechard, himself a Reouven enthusiast. I myself instantly joined him in the ranks after reading the wonderful Tobie or not Tobie.

René Reouven

As usual with these author pages, this is intended to be both a bibliography and a directory to my reviews as they appear. However, it turns out that coming up with a bibliography for René Reouven is tricky business. He hasn’t got any website or anything of the sort, which is where one might expect to find a bibliography. There is an entry on Wikipedia with a bibliography, but it is strangely incomplete, missing several books. Several bibliographies are online, but many of them are “selected bibliographies”. I’ve done my best to compile as complete a bibliography as I can, but I expect I’ve made some omissions and possibly some errors. If you spot either/or, please let me know and I’ll fix it as soon as I can.

As René Reouven

Romans policiers
Octave II (Second Octave)1965

Les Humeurs fatales (The Fatal Humours) 1968

Mort au jury (Death to the Jury) 1969

L'Assassin maladroit (The Awkward Murderer) 1970

Monsieur Josué (Mr. Joshua) 1971

Six personnages en quête de meurtre (Six Characters in Search of a Murder) 1972

Le Bouton du mandarin (The Mandarin’s Button) 1976

Le Quidam et la mort (The Individual and Death) 1976

Les Confessions d'un enfant du crime (The Confessions of a Child of Crime) 1977

Tobie or not Tobie (Tobias or not Tobias) 1980
Reouven rewrites the Biblical Book of Tobit... as a mystery! Tobit, an elderly man, is blind, and despairs that his son Tobie is twenty and unmarried. So he sends Tobie to Media to collect a large sum of money he loaned to a cousin named Gabael. And while he’s there, there’s a nearby town where a young woman named Sarah lives. She’s twenty years old, beautiful, and unmarried! So Tobit hires a guide for Tobie, a man named Azariah. On the way, Azariah and Tobie seperate, and Tobie comes to Sarah's house. There, he witnesses several eerie events before learning that Sarah has been married seven times previously... but each time, before the marriage can be consummated, the demon Asmodeus killed the bridgeroom under impossible circumstances!

Grand-père est mort (Grandfather is Dead) 1983

Un tueur en Sorbonne (A Killer at the Sorbonne) 1984

La raison du meilleur est toujours la plus forte (The Best One’s Will is Always the Strongest) 1986

Récits de la troisième brigade (Stories of the Third Squad) 1990

Faites-les taire (Silence Them) 1991

Voyage au centre du mystère (Journey to the Centre of a Mystery) 1995

Souvenez-vous de Monte-Cristo (Remember Monte Cristo) 1996
César Brunel has but one goal in life: become rich. Fortunately he has a rich uncle, Charles, who can be targeted for murder. But how to pull this off without being suspected? César uses the happy coincidence of his uncle's family name (Loupian) to hatch a plan: he will become a serial killer and recreate a series of murders that inspired Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. He leaves notes beside his victims that say: "Souvenez-vous de Monte-Cristo" (Remember Monte Cristo), reasoning that this will distract the police into looking for a motive of vengeance... and thus the hunt is on, as César finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with his uncle Charles and the police.
  • This review is a crossover review, written in collaboration with Xavier Lechard of At the Villa Rose.
Le Cercle de Quincey (The De Quincey Circle) 1998

La vérité sur la Rue Morgue (The Truth on the Rue Morgue) 2001

Un trésor dans l’ombre (A Treasure in the Shadow) 2011


Sherlock Holmes Stories
Élémentaire, mon cher Holmes (Elementary, My Dear Holmes) 1982 –  Prix Mystère de la critique 1983
This is a most unusual Holmesian novel, one in which Sherlock Holmes never appears. Nevertheless it is heavily inspired by Holmes and its plot would have been impossible without him. Here, Reouven postulates the survival of the first draft of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This is a manuscript of such concentrated evil that it turns anyone who reads it into a murderer. The novel follows the manuscript from owner to owner in reverse chronological order... culminating with the reveal of its first owner, better known to the world under his nickname: Jack the Ripper!

  • Originally published under the pen name "Albert Davidson", derived from Reouven's second name (Albert) and his father's name (David).

L'Assassin du boulevard (The Boulevard Assassin) 1985

Le Bestiaire de Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes’ Bestiary) 1987
Of the untold tales of Sherlock Holmes, some of the most fascinating references involve animals -- unfortunately we never got to hear Dr. Watson's take on these adventures. The most famous of these is perhaps the giant rat of Sumatra. Well, Reouven's take on the Rat is in this collection, as well as the affair of the trained cormorant, the mysterious worm unknown to science, and the red leech. Three of these stories are narrated by Holmes itself, and the other story is set during WWI. In other words, they're somewhat unusual pastiches. Although the stories collected here are individual stories, they tie into each other in unexpected, and often surprising, ways!

Le Détective volé (The Stolen Detective) 1988
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is sick and tired of the comparisons made between Sherlock Holmes and C. Auguste Dupin. So he sends his detective back in time (via H. G. Wells' time machine) to Paris in the 1830s. Their mission is to discover whether Poe ripped his story from the headlines, and if so, who was the real-life Dupin? After wrapping things up on the Parisian end, Holmes and Watson are then sent to America, shortly after Poe's death. They investigate the man's untimely death and determine the cause of death, the meaning of the great man's final ramblings, as well as unearthing a surprising connection to the Mary Rogers murder case...

Les Passe-temps de Sherlock Holmes (The Pastimes of Sherlock Holmes) 1989
A collection of literary mysteries, each story is dedicated to an author. In the first story, dedicated to Josephine Tey, Holmes finds himself investigating the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. In the second story, dedicated to John Dickson Carr, Holmes investigates the sudden death of Cardinal Tosca, a notorious anti-Semite found dead inside a locked Jewish library. The third story is dedicated to Thomas De Quincey, and it involves Holmes' investigations of the peculiar persecutions levelled towards a tobacconist.

Le drame ténébreux qui se déroula entre les frères Atkinson de Trincomalee (The Dark Tragedy That Took Place Between the Atkinson Brothers of Trincomalee) 1989 – short story

Histoires secrètes de 1887 (Secret Stories of 1887) Enigmatika no 40 – short story

La plus grande machination du siècle (The Greatest Frame-Up of the Century) 1990 – short story

Histoires secrètes de Sherlock Holmes (Secret Stories of Sherlock Holmes) 2010
  • ·         This book collects all the Sherlock Holmes stories of René Reouven, both novels and short stories.


Fantasy and Sci-Fi
Les Grandes Profondeurs (Great Depths) 1991

Les Survenants (The Occurrences) 1996

La partition de Jéricho (The Partition of Jericho) 1999

Bouvard, Pécuchet et les savants fous (Bouvard, Pécuchet, and the Mad Doctors) 2000

Le Rêveur des plaines (The Dreamer of the Plains) 2005 (Western)


Non-fiction
Dictionnaire des assassins (Assassins’ Dictionary) 1974


As René Sussan
La Route des voleurs (Thieves’ Road) 1959

Histoire de Farczi (Farczi’s Story) 1964 – prix Cazes 1965

Dupont et le bonheur des hommes (Dupont and Mens’ Happiness) 1965

L'Etoile des autres (The Star of Others) 1967

La Ville sans fantômes (The City Without Ghosts) 1968

Les Renégats de l'an mil (The Defiant One Thousand) 1992


Sci-fi and fantasy short story collections
Les Confluents (The Confluences) 1960

L'Anneau de fumée (The Ring of Smoke) 1974

Les Insolites (The Unusual) 1984

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