Fantomas

The Fantômas Novels: Fantômas prend sa revanche


Synopsis of Fantômas prend sa revanche / The Revenge of Fantômas:

Inspector Juve brings the Préfet of Police the news that Fantômas has been arrested and is being escorted to the Palace of Justice by Jérôme Fandor, accompanied by M. Havard and 15 gendarmes. The Préfet shows Juve a note just thrown through his window, signed by Fantômas, threatening the death of 150,000 Parisians. Fandor shows up without Fantômas, and explains that he has released the prisoner. The Préfet attempts to arrest Fandor, but Juve intervenes, despite his bewilderment at Fandor's inexplicable actions, and Fandor escapes.

The Préfet and M. Havard demand that Juve arrest Fandor. Juve returns to his apartment, only to find Fandor waiting for him. Fandor explains that the prisoner they thought was Fantômas en cagoule was in fact Hélène, the daughter of Fantômas. Fandor agreed to free her so that she could foil Fantômas's latest plan. Juve is still duty-bound to arrest Fandor; Fandor offers Juve a cigarette, and Juve, after a moment's hesitation, accepts. After taking a drag or two, Juve falls unconscious—as Juve had realized before he smoked it, the cigarette was spiked with a narcotic.

Juve awakes bound hand and foot, with Lady Beltham in his rooms. She begs Juve not to rearrest Hélène, and to instead arrest Fandor so that he cannot pursue Fantômas. She predicts a dire catastrophe if Fandor proceeds. Juve asks her for a cigarette from his case as she leaves. But the cigarette conceals a steel blade; Juve frees himself, and shadows Lady Beltham with the assistance of Inspector Henri, who is supposed to be following Juve. Juve sees Lady Beltham meet Fantômas in the middle of the Pont de Châtelet. Juve and Henri advance from opposite sides of the bridge to capture Fantômas, but he and Lady Beltham have vanished.

Fandor remembers that his prisoner had told him to meet her at 120 Rue Chanez at midnight. He goes there, only to find instead the Vicomte d'Oultremont, the self-described "first lieutenant of Fantômas." The Vicomte explains that he also desires to foil Fantômas's latest design, and that Hélène had been attempting to do the same by stealing a treasure from Fantômas. He asks Fandor to accompany him to a meeting of Fantômas and his lieutenants, where it will be revealed that the treasure has been stolen, disrupting the plan. The Vicomte asks Fandor to guard Fantômas in case his lieutenants, suspecting that he has robbed them, try to attack him. Fandor agrees, and is placed in a gigantic strong-box where he can listen to the meeting of Fantômas and his lieutenants. When Fantômas demands that the Vicomte d'Oultremont swear on pain of death to carry out his new scheme, and d'Oultremont refuses, Fandor leaps out of hiding to protect d'Oultremont, and is shot in the chest by Fantômas.

Meanwhile, at the bridge, Juve decides that he must swim from arch to arch to see how Fantômas and Lady Beltham escaped. He finds a rope hanging from the middle of the bridge, but no sign of Fantômas or Lady Beltham. As he attempts to swim to the other side, his feet are grabbed and he is pulled under the water. He is gripped by a grappling hook and brought into the airlock of a sunken barge—Fantômas's secret hideout in the heart of Paris. Feigning unconsciousness, Juve is imprisoned in a small dungeon. But the buttons of his undershirt contain high explosives, and he prepares an ambush for Fantômas.

Juve hears the voice of Lady Beltham, imploring him to tell her where Hélène is and revealing that Fantômas plans to blanket Paris with poison gas. Juve then sets off the high explosive, which destroys the sunken barge. Miraculously, though, Juve is unharmed, and finds himself swimming in the Seine. He spots the unconscious Lady Beltham floating in the current, and rescues her for good measure. Juve goes for help; when he returns he sees Lady Beltham fleeing. He follows her to the Quai aux Fleurs, where she gets into a waiting car. Juve commandeers a police vehicle and pursues Lady Beltham's car, which heads towards the port city of Le Havre. Juve arrives first, and manages to hide himself on the yacht Lotus, on which Lady Beltham will be sailing.

Fandor awakes, and realizes that his notebook must have stopped Fantômas's bullet before it entered his heart. He's been sealed inside a giant airtight iron buoy floating on the Seine; at the last moment he's discovered by two workmen. Freed and revived, he's promptly arrested by a police officer called to the scene. Fandor later escapes, and returns to the place where he's least expected—his own apartment. There he receives a letter from Hélène explaining that she is going overseas and hinting at a bargain she's made with her father, preventing him from carrying out one of his nefarious plans. Fandor deduces that she is leaving from Le Havre, steals a car, and manages to dash aboard her ship, the ocean liner Paris, just as it's pulling away.

At one of the ship's social functions Fandor and Hélène recognize one another, but she slips away from him. He pursues her through the ship, and believes he's found her cabin, when the Vicomte d'Oultremont emerges and tells him that Hélène cannot see him. Fandor locks the Vicomte in a steamer trunk and is about to force his way in to see Hélène when he finds out that the liner is responding to a distress call from the yacht Lotus. As the Paris pulls alongside the listing yacht, the Lotus runs the Jolly Roger up its masthead and fires a broadside at the liner. Fantômas appears on the Lotus' deck and demands that the passengers be evacuated on the lifeboats. Fandor returns to the cabin to find Hélène, who urges him to hide in the steamer trunk. When Fandor objects that he has locked the Vicomte d'Oultremont in the trunk, Hélène reveals that she herself is the "Vicomte" and is on board in an attempt to save the passengers and crew from Fantômas. Her plan is to smuggle Fandor aboard her father's pirate yacht, and then use its radio to summon the nearby English fleet. All goes as planned, but Fantômas lashes the "Vicomte" to the yacht's mainmast, and Fandor cannot leave the trunk which is left on deck in full view.

Meanwhile, Fantômas's henchmen have planted a mine on the liner and drilled holes in all the lifeboats; the passengers are doomed. On the Lotus, Fandor, having gouged a small hole in the trunk, spots a package of flares on deck, and fires a bullet into them, setting them off. The smoke blankets the ship; in the confusion Fandor frees Hélène and makes for the yacht's airplane. Juve, hidden on the yacht, hears the propellor turn over, and thinking that Fantômas is escaping he leaps for the plane and catches hold of the fuselage. As the plane is climbing Juve manages to crawl forward until close enough to kill the pilot with one shot. Below, both the Lotus and the Paris explode in flames. As Juve aims, Hélène, still bound, realizes what is about to happen and saves Fandor by throwing herself out of the plane. The plane lurches, Juve's shot misses, Fandor turns, and the two men recognize one another.

Hélène plunges into the ocean, apparently doomed; but a submarine surfaces and rescues her. Fandor and Juve fly lower, convinced that the machine is from the British Fleet and that they too will be rescued—but the sub begins firing an anti-aircraft gun at them. It is Fantômas (of course). A storm breaks, and Juve and Fandor's attempt to escape is hindered by the squall. Fantômas projects a message on the clouds with a searchlight, informing them that their fuel is running out. They don't have enough to reach shore; and Fantômas's submarine is following them, waiting for them to drop into the sea. "Alas! Was not their fate fixed immutably? Was not Fantômas's vengence complete, even now?"

FIN

—Et Al.

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