Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux was a French novelist and journalist. He is best remembered for his still popular novel The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra).
Leroux was born in Paris and was schooled in Normandy. He complete his post-secondary studied in law at a Paris university, graduating in 1890. Instead of working in law, he began a career as a court reporter and theatre critic for L’Écho de Paris.
Leroux wrote several important journalist pieces during his career, especially for the Paris newspaper Le Matin. He was present at and covered the 1905 Russian Revolution.
In 1907, he began writing fiction. His first story was The Mystery of the Yellow Room (Le mystère de la chambre jaune), which is a celebrated locked-room mystery. He also wrote a large amount of detective fiction featuring detective Joseph Rouletabille. Leroux’s contributions to the detective genre are considered equivalent to Edgar Allen Poe or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Phantom of the Opera was published in 1909, the same year as Leroux was awarded Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur. He lived to see it adapted to film twice — once in German (a silent film) and once in English (also a silent film). There have been more than two dozen film adaptations since his death.
Leroux died in 1927 in Nice. During his lifetime, he wrote thirty novels, short stories, and plays. Rouletabille features in seven of his novels.