For the third book of the challenge, I read Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc (translated by Edgar Jepson). I found this book (as well as several others in the series) over at Project Gutenberg for free, so if you’d like to read it as well, head on over here and download the file supported by your e-reader of choice.
There seems to be some inconsistency in the ordering of the books in this series. GoodReads has it one way, Wikipedia another, and neither lists this particular book (which is, as far as I can tell, different from the others) as part of the series. So…I dunno. It does not read like the first book in the series, and given the sheer number of red herrings, disguises, deceptions and concealments in this book, I don’t really know what to think. I just read it, and it was amusing enough (though no Agatha Christie), and I didn’t worry about it all that much.
The biggest mystery of this story is the question: who is Arsene Lupin? Nobody knows, it seems. Everyone knows OF him, but he is a master of disguise and a gentleman-thief, a prankster and master of distraction and social engineering. Half of his tricks are very simple, things that today we (and the police) are very careful to not be fooled by, like notes ostensibly from one person but actually from another. Lupin is a cocky fellow, but his little jokes and tricks can’t last forever, especially the more complex and confusing they become.
It’s a bit formulaic (but keep in mind, this was written during the beginning of the popularity of the detective genre), but still entertaining enough watching people run about frantically, trying to figure out what will be stolen, and when, and how to catch whoever is responsible.