Born Jean-Baptiste Rossi in Marseilles, he studied at a Jesuit college before entering the prestigious Sorbonne University. He wrote his first novel Les Mal Partis at the age of 18. At 20, he was commissioned by his publisher to translate Catcher in the Rye and then some other works by J.D. Salinger. Assuming the pen name Sébastien Japrisot (which was incidentally the anagram of his real name) he then became a best-selling mystery author with the novels The Sleeping Car Murders and Trap for Cinderella. Considering cinema as important as his literary work, Japrisot directed two shorts in the 1960s and the big-screen version of his first novel Les Mal Partis in 1975. He also penned several original screenplays and he was awarded a French César for adapting his book One Deadly Summer for director Jean Becker in 1983. Japrisot again collaborated with Becker on Les Enfants du Marais (1999) and Un Crime au Paradis (2000). In 2004, the Amélie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet filmed Japrisot's 1991 novel A Very Long Engagement for Warner Bros. It was also announced that British director Iain Softley would direct a remake of Trap for Cinderella.