Gabriel Chevallier (1895–1969) was the son of a notary clerk and lived in Lyon for most of his life. He was called up at the start of World War I and wounded a year later. Returning to the front, he spent the remainder of the war as an infantryman, and was ultimately awarded the Croix de Guerre and named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. He began writing Fear
in 1925 but did not publish it until 1930, a year after his first novel, Durand: voyageur de commerce
, was released. Fear
was suppressed during World War II and not made available again until 1951, by which time Chevallier had earned international fame for his Clochemerle
(1934), a comedy of provincial French manners of the Beaujolais region that sold several million copies. In all Chevallier would write twenty-one novels, including several more set in the fictional village of Clochemerle.