The Secret Bureau 1
THE SECRET BUREAU 1
by Charles Rabou
adapted by Nina Cooper
"She was then taken into a room entirely draped in black material where two iron lamps suspended from the ceiling cast their wan light down on all the objects. There, on a table covered with a tapestry of the same color, she saw bones of bizarre shapes whose use at first glance didn't seem easy to guess."
The Secret Bureau (1849) is the first volume in a series of four that tells the story of the Hulet family which, for generations, has headed the government's spy network, the Secret Bureau, that intercepts and opens all private mail. It follows the ambitious Henri Hulet as he tries to avoid the fatal destiny marked out for him, then switches to the resourceful Gregorio Matiphous, as he attempts to thwart the diabolical schemes of the villainous Marquis de Samaniego, leader of the mysterious Sleepers' Club...
Charles Rabou (1803-1871) was one of the founders of the prestigious Revue de Paris and a friend of Honoré de Balzac, whose unfinished novels he completed after the latter's death. He was also a master of the roman noir (crime novel). The Secret Bureau is an important link between the works of Jules Janin and Frédéric Soulié on the one hand, and Paul Féval and Ponson du Terrail on the other.
Le Cabinet Noir (The Secret Bureau) (Lebègue, 1849 / L. de Potter, 1856)
Introduction and Notes by Nina Cooper.