Paul Féval (1816-1887) was the author of popular swashbucklers, such as Le Loup Blanc (1843) and the perennial best seller Le Bossu (1857). He also penned the seminal Knightshade, The Vampire Countess and Vampire City. His greatest claim to fame was as one of the fathers of the modern crime thriller.
Because of its themes and characters, his novel Jean Diable (1862) can claim to be the worlds first modern detective novel. His masterpiece was Les Habits Noirs (1863-75), a criminal saga written over a twelve year period comprised of seven novels. After losing his fortune in a financial scandal, Féval became a born again Christian, stopped writing crime thrillers, and began to write religious novels, sadly leaving the tale of the Black Coats uncompleted.