Police files

The 'literary squad' that spooked French writers

France

If authors are often inspired by police detectives, a newly-published study of Paris police archives demonstrates how French detectives were also often inspired by authors. La Police des écrivains (Writers' Police) presents a compilation of two centuries of police surveillance reports on French literary figures, which include how Victor Hugo (photo) stashed his cash in England in case of urgent exile and how Jean-Paul Sartre had a penchant for alcohol and subterranean bars where "persons of both sexes are present, dressed eccentrically, often in a neglected manner".