French Novelist and Social Rebel Georges Arnaud, 69

Georges Arnaud, who as a youth was jailed for the murder of his father and aunt and whose rebelliousness was reflected in a series of novels, among them “The Wages of Fear,” has died in Spain, his family said in Paris. He was 69.

The family said Arnaud died Wednesday in Barcelona, but gave no further details.

Director Georges-Henri Clouzot turned the “Wages of Fear,” a story about men who drove nitroglycerine-laden trucks over dangerous roads into a film classic. The book sold an estimated 2 million copies worldwide.

The film, starring Yves Montand and Charles Vanel, won the Grand Prix of the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.


When he died, Arnaud was working on a new novel, “An Executioner in the Streets,” to be published in September, according to the Pre-aux-Clercs publishing house. Jean-Claude Simoen, director of the house, said he was not certain if the book was completed.

Arnaud, a pen name, was born Henri Girard, the son of Georges Girard, a Foreign Ministry official and noted historian. Girard was killed in the family chateau near Perigueux, in central France, in 1941.

Arnaud was accused of murdering his father and aunt, but was declared innocent in 1943 after 19 months in jail. The experience left him with a hatred for police and the judiciary, and he stayed away from France for many years.

Arnaud later became a leading supporter of the Algerian independence movement during its war against France in the 1950s. He was given a suspended two-year prison term for supporting the Algerian rebels.

In addition to “The Wages of Fear,” Arnaud wrote several other novels and travel books.