When I say I am called Valmont, the name will convey no impression to
the reader, one way or another. My occupation is that of private
detective in London, but if you ask any policeman in Paris who Valmont
was he will likely be able to tell you, unless he is a recent recruit.
If you ask him where Valmont is now, he may not know, yet I have a
good deal to do with the Parisian police.
For a period of seven years I was chief detective to the Government of
France, and if I am unable to prove myself a great crime hunter, it is
because the record of my career is in the secret archives of Paris.
I may admit at the outset that I have no grievances to air. The French
Government considered itself justified in dismissing me, and it did
so. In this action it was quite within its right, and I should be the
last to dispute that right; but, on the other hand, I consider myself
justified in publishing the following account of what actually
occurred, especially as so many false rumours have been put abroad
concerning the case. However, as I said at the beginning, I hold no
grievance, because my worldly affairs are now much more prosperous
than they were in Paris, my intimate knowledge of that city and the
country of which it is the capital bringing to me many cases with
which I have dealt more or less successfully since I established
myself in London.