Friday, February 7, 2014

Raffles

E.W. Hornung was Arthur Conan Doyle's brother-in-law. He also ventured into fiction involving crime and detection but, unlike Sherlock Holmes, his protagonist, A.J. Raffles, was a criminal. Wikipedia describes Raffles:
Raffles and Bunny are men-about-town who also commit burglaries. Raffles is a famous gentleman cricketer, a marvellous spin bowler who is often invited to social events that would be out of his reach otherwise. "I was asked about for my cricket", he comments after this period is over. It ends when they are caught and exposed on an ocean voyage while attempting another theft; Raffles dives overboard and is presumed drowned. These stories were collected in The Amateur Cracksman. Other stories set in this period, written after Raffles had been "killed off" were collected in A Thief in the Night.

The second phase begins some time later when Bunny – having served a prison sentence – is summoned to the house of a rich invalid. This turns out to be Raffles himself, back in England in disguise. Then begins their "professional" period, exiled from Society, in which they are straightforward thieves trying to earn a living while keeping Raffles's identity a secret. ....
Both books are available, free, for Kindle or other electronic formats at ManyBooks: The Amateur Cracksman and A Thief in the Night. In 1930 Ronald Colman played the character in a film that was remade in 1939 starring David Niven.