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Jean-Marie-Edmond Sabran, best known by his pseudonym Paul Berna, was a French writer whose children's books were also published in Britain and the United States. Before becoming a full-time writer, he worked on a suburban newspaper.
His most famous book, Le Cheval sans tête, usually known in English as A Hundred Million Francs, was published in 1955. It concerns the adventures of a gang of street urchins from the slums of Paris whose plaything, a headless horse on wheels, is used as a hiding-place by train robbers. It has been translated into several languages, enjoying great success in Britain and the United States. In 1963, the Disney Studios in Britain filmed the book as The Horse Without a Head: The 100,000,000 Franc Train Robbery, scripted by T. E. B. Clarke and starring Jean-Pierre Aumont and Herbert Lom.
A bunch of scruffy urchin kids in the backstreets of Paris outwit thieves to uncover the whereabouts of millions of francs stolen from the Paris-Ventimiglia express. Gaby is the leader, but it is super-cool Marion with her collection of stray dogs who is the heart of the gang. It all begins when a local villain offers the children a fortune for their 'horse' - a headless rocking horse, given old tricycle wheels that they 'ride' down the steep cobbled street, but they don't want to part with it. Then, a few days later, the horse is stolen, and so begins an adventure that is full of twists and turns, leading to a satisfying conclusion when the villains receive their comeuppance.
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