This is one of three novels about Lupin written in World War 1. Lupin is a sincere hero who has failings, which ender him to the reader. This romance and adventure/thriller is by far the best of the Lupin series.
It was half–past four; M. Desmalions, the Prefect of Police, was not yet back at the office. His private secretary laid on the desk a bundle of letters and reports which he had annotated for his chief, rang the bell and said to the messenger who entered by the main door: "Monsieur le Préfet has sent for a number of people to see him at five o'clock. Here are their names. Show them into separate waiting–rooms, so that they can't communicate with one another, and let me have their cards when they come." The messenger went out. The secretary was turning toward the small door that led to his room, when the main door opened once more and admitted a man who stopped and leaned swaying over the back of a chair.