home‎ > ‎

E W Hornung

(E)rnest (W)illiam Hornung (1866 – 1921)  known as Willie, was an English author, most famous for writing the Raffles series of novels about a gentleman thief in late Victorian London.
Hornung married Constance Doyle,  the sister of his friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Hornung worked as a journalist and also published the poems. The character of A. J. Raffles, a "gentleman thief", first appeared in Cassell's Magazine in 1898 and the stories were later collected as The Amateur Cracksman (1899). Other titles in the series include The Black Mask (1901), A Thief in the Night (1905), and the full-length novel Mr. Justice Raffles (1909). He also co-wrote the play Raffles, The Amateur Cracksman with Eugene Presbrey in 1903.
Arthur J. Raffles is a character created in the 1890s by E. W. Hornung, a brother-in-law to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Raffles is, in many ways, a deliberate inversion of Holmes — he is a "gentleman thief," living in the Albany, a prestigious address in London, playing cricket for the Gentlemen of England and supporting himself by carrying out ingenious burglaries. He is called the "Amateur Cracksman," and often, at first, differentiates between himself and the "professors" — professional criminals from the lower classes.
As Holmes has Dr. Watson to chronicle his adventures, Raffles has Harry "Bunny" Manders — a former schoolmate saved from disgrace and suicide by Raffles, who persuaded him to accompany him on a burglary. While Raffles often takes advantage of Manders' relative innocence, and sometimes treats him with a certain amount of contempt, he knows that Manders' bravery and loyalty are to be relied on utterly. In several stories, Manders saves the day for the two of them after Raffles gets into situations he cannot get out of on his own.
Raffles at one time was nearly as famous as it's author's brother-in-law's Sherlock Holmes but has since fallen into near obscurity. Why is a mystery as Raffles is a very entertaining, subtly subversive, anti-hero. He's an unrepentant gentleman thief who enjoys getting away with his crimes.
Raffles is in many ways an inversion of Sherlock Holmes, he's a master of disguise, has a very close confidant and chronicler Bunny Manders, and uses his skills for crime rather than the solving of them.


From LibriVox.Org:

The Amateur Cracksman is the first collection of stories about A. J. Raffles, gentleman, cricketer, and thief. After stopping his old school friend, Bunny Manders, from a desperate attempt at suicide, Raffles introduces the unsuspecting Bunny to a new way of earning a living, burglary. 

Raffles, Further Adventures of the Amateur Cracksman is the second collection of stories in the Raffles series. After the dark turn of events at the end of The Gift of the Emperor, Bunny’s done his time and, his life not being quite what it was before, now finds himself longing for the companionship of his Raffles. 

Rachel Minchin stands in the dock, accused of murdering the dissolute husband she was preparing to leave. The trial is sensational, and public opinion vehemently and almost universally against her. When the jury astonishes and outrages the world with a vedict of Not Guilty, Rachel quickly finds herself in need of protection.