What the reader looks for in an adventure novel? He looks for adventures, mysteries and their solutions, and ingenious twists in the plot-something which is by definition not serious. The French researcher, however, basing herself on readers' letters to authors, shows that readers of the 1840s were looking in such a model adventure novel as Eugene Sue's Mysteries of Paris not so much for a head-spinning intrigue as for moral recommendations. Thus, a novel, which, in the eyes of austere critics, belonged to a frivolous and even corrupting genre, was perceived by the reading public as a source of normative prescriptions and answers to the question of how one should live and what one should do.