'Lupin' on Netflix: The Classic Book the Series is Based On

Lupin is Netflix's hit new show riding high in the global Netflix charts, but its roots come from much older source material. The central plot of Season 1 sees Assane (Omar Sy) trying to steal a necklace that once belonged to Marie Antoinette. In the Netflix show, the character gets the idea from a book that was read to him as a child—a real book that was written in the early 20th century.

"The Queen's Necklace" is a story by Maurice Leblanc, written in 1906 for a French magazine. The tale was then put into the 1907 collection Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar one of the author's many tales about Arsène Lupin, the character who inspires Assane and gives the Netflix series its name.

At the start of this tale, the fifth story in the classic French book, Leblanc describes the history of the necklace: "It was, indeed, the famous necklace, the legendary necklace that Bohmer and Bassenge, court jewelers, had made for Madame Du Barry; the veritable necklace that the Cardinal de Rohan-Soubise intended to give to Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France." When a character wears it, it is described thus: "The thousand facets of the diamond sparkled and shone like flames of fire about her shapely neck and shoulders, and it is safe to say that none but she could have borne the weight of such an ornament with so much ease and grace."

lupin netflix book
'Lupin' on Netflix takes inspiration in its first season from a 1906 French story Netflix

In the story, the necklace is in the possession of a wealthy family, who keep it in a safety deposit box, only bringing it out for balls and very special occasions. In Lupin, meanwhile, the necklace is in the Louvre, giving the show a visually stunning location for the heist to take place in.

However, this story details exactly how the necklace was stolen, something that gives Assane the inspiration for his own crime. The family first suspect Henriette, a family friend who has fallen on hard times, and who the family looks down upon and has employed as a chambermaid. However, after they interrogate her, they find she was innocent of the crime. Similarly, in Lupin (spoilers), a conspiracy emerges that saw Assane's father blamed for stealing a necklace.

In the book, it is then revealed that it was not Henriette who stole the necklace but her very young son, who commits his first theft—a crime that eventually leads to him becoming Arsène Lupin, the monocled master thief.

Similarly, the necklace is Assane's first theft, and he too is out for revenge for a humiliated family member—though in a meta twist, Assane gets revenge through recreating a crime detailed in his father's favorite book.

And as that book series has two dozen other installments where Lupin learns to become a martial artist master of disguise, there are plenty more crimes that Assane (whose name, of course, is a play on Arsène) could mimic in the future when the show potentially returns for Part 2.

Lupin is streaming now on Netflix.