Safes in literature: a source of intrigue and mystery

History 15/05/2023

Safes have always fascinated the collective imagination. In literature, they are often at the heart of captivating plots, symbols of hidden wealth and jealously guarded secrets. In this article, we explore some of the famous literary works where safes play a major role and reveal the treasures that are locked in them.

“The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas, le comte de Monte-Cristo

One of the most famous novels of Alexandre Dumas, “The Count of Monte Cristo”, tells the story of Edmond Dantes, a man unjustly imprisoned who, after escaping, discovers a fabulous treasure hidden in a safe on the island of Monte Cristo. Thanks to this fortune, he reinvents himself as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo and swears revenge on those who betrayed him.

The interest of the safe in this novel lies in the transformation it allows Dantes. By discovering the treasure, he gains access to a new life, where he can use his wealth to implement a meticulous plan of revenge. The safe thus symbolizes the passage from one life to another, marking the beginning of the hero’s ascent to redemption.

“The Safe Robbery” by Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle Les aventures de sherlock holmes

In this short story featuring the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, a banker seeks Holmes’ help in solving the mystery of a safe emptied of its contents. The plot focuses on how the thief was able to bypass the safe’s security systems to get hold of important documents. This story demonstrates the seductive power of safes and their ability to highlight the talents of an outstanding detective.

The role of the safe in this story is central, as it is both the object of the robbery and the challenge for the detective to solve. The safe is the puzzle that Sherlock Holmes must solve in order to identify the thief and understand how he was able to defeat the security mechanisms. It also serves as a catalyst to showcase Holmes’ intelligence and insight as he manages to solve the case by deducing the thief’s methods from simple clues.

“The Mystery of the Yellow Room” by Gaston Leroux

"Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune" de Gaston Leroux

In this detective story by Gaston Leroux, the victim is found unconscious in a hermetically sealed room, with access protected by a safe. The story follows the young journalist Rouletabille, who tries to solve the enigma of the yellow room and to understand how the criminal was able to bypass the security systems of the safe to get into the room. This novel highlights the ingenuity of criminals in the face of the most sophisticated security devices.

The interest of the safe in “The Mystery of the Yellow Room” lies in the challenge it represents for Rouletabille. As the safe is a central element of the hermetically sealed room, it serves as the starting point for the young journalist’s investigation. The mystery of how the criminal was able to enter the room, despite the presence of the safe, raises questions about the infallibility of security systems and the detective’s acumen. Ultimately, the safe highlights Rouletabille’s ability to solve the most complex puzzles and unsolvable mysteries.


Literature is replete with examples where safes play a central role in the plot, whether as protectors of priceless treasures, well-kept secrets, or puzzles to be solved. In each of the novels mentioned, the safe serves as a catalyst for action, allowing the main characters to demonstrate their ingenuity, insight and bravery.

These works show how embedded safes are in our culture and imagination, and attest to their power to capture the attention of readers. Whether as a symbol of wealth, mystery, or intellectual challenge, safes will continue to inspire authors and fascinate readers around the world. So the next time you open a book, don’t be surprised if a safe is an integral part of the story!