Biography (Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Revised Edition)
Gaston Leroux, a lawyer, journalist, and writer of fiction, was born in Paris on May 6, 1868, two years before the formation of the Third Republic. He was the son of a building contractor. Although Paris-born, Leroux always thought of himself as a Normande, as his mother was from Normandy. He lived for some years at Eu, inland from Le Tréport, while his father was engaged in the restoration of a castle. Leroux attended a school in Eu for a time; later, he was graduated from secondary school in Caen, Normandy.
Leroux removed himself to Paris, where he took up residence in the Latin Quarter and began the study of law, which he later practiced on completion of his studies. A description of his physique about this time by a contemporary indicates that he was a plump man with a curly, chestnut beard. From behind his spectacles, his dark eyes sparkled with malice, his countenance suggesting repressed irreverence. He overflowed with life and energy, and he seemed to have in him something of the street Arab and the Bacchic reveler. The whole judicial system frustrated and irritated him. Eventually, he quit. Leroux remained cynical about the judicial system the rest of his life, and this attitude pervades his fiction. His Rouletabille redresses the errors of human justice, and Chéri-Bibi, for a time at least, is both the victim of judicial error and the instrument of supreme justice.
After his stint as a lawyer, Leroux decided to enter the...
(The entire section is 561 words.)
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Gaston Leroux was born in Paris on May 6, 1868, a month before his parents, Dominique Alfred Leroux and Marie Bidault, were married. His father was a public works contractor. After Gaston was born, his parents went on to have two more sons and a daughter.
Gaston Leroux went away to school when he was twelve, graduating with honors at age eighteen. He then went to Caen to study law. In the meantime, his mother died, and his father died soon after Leroux turned twenty. As head of the household, he returned to Paris, where he reluctantly finished studying to be a lawyer, passing the tests required for his license. He preferred writing, however, and began covering trials for smaller papers, which led, in 1893, to a full-time position as a reporter for Le Matin. Tremendously successful as a newspaper reporter, he stayed at Le Matin for nearly thirteen years. It was an exciting life of global travel, for which he became a celebrity. Soon after he married Marie Lafranc, he realized that the marriage was a mistake; they separated, but she refused to grant him a divorce. He fell in love with another woman, Jeanne Cayatte, and they had a son together, although they were not able to marry until Marie Lafranc died in 1917.
His journalistic career ended suddenly, in 1907, when, after his return from covering a volcano eruption, he sought to relax with a few days of vacation time: his editor ordered him to go out on another assignment, and he...
(The entire section is 290 words.)