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Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Wordsworth…

Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Wordsworth Classics) (original 1899; edition 1994)

by E. W. Hornung

Series: Raffles (1)

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Title:Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Wordsworth Classics)
Authors:E. W. Hornung
Info:Wordsworth Editions, Edition: First Thus, Paperback
Collections:Read and passed on

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Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman by E. W. Hornung (1899)

  1. 01
    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (majkia)
    majkia: Although completely different settings, still the same lighthearted thievery going on.

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» See also 43 mentions

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A series of short stories told in a continuous narrative about Raffles - the thief who is a great Cricketeer - and his pal, Bunny. Interesting in that they are told from the viewpoint of the thief. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
I don't care for this entire body of work. The Gentleman thug is best handled by Leslie Charteris and Simon Templar, in my opinion. But Raffles and his buddy Bunny are referred to by some. His heroic death in South Africa should be used by someone else in a fantasy time travel story. Hmmm.... ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 26, 2013 |
Nothing particularly wrong with this but it just didn't appeal to me in the end. ( )
  ElaineRuss | Sep 23, 2013 |
The Raffles stories are basically the British version of Arsene Lupin: they feature a hyperintelligent Sherlock Holmes-like character who uses his skills to transgress the law rather than defend it. Raffles' adventures are rather more serious and straightforward than the often spoofy escapades of Lupin and his nemesis "Holmlock Shears" (I am not making that up--after Doyle threatened a lawsuit, Lupin's nemesis got this entertaining monniker instead.) Like the Holmes stories, Raffles' adventures are narrated by a loyal and rather less intelligent sidekick. However, narrator Bunny Manders strikes me as a "low-budget" version of Watson: Bunny's intelligence is closer to that of Poirot's Hastings than that of the clever Watson, and his affections for Raffles more reminiscent of Holmes/Watson slash fiction than the canon Holmes/Watson friendship. (Seriously, Bunny/Raffles goes rather farther than Holmes/Watson, intentional or no. Just note Bunny's rather sensual descriptions of Raffles' appearance, then swap over to a point where there is any physical interaction between the two, and the way Raffles keeps calling him "my Bunny" and "my dearest Bunny." Not to mention that Bunny makes it quite clear that Raffles is all that gives his life meaning. Oh, and in the next book, they'll end up living together. Why is this a problem? Because Raffles repeatedly abuses Bunny's trust and devotion. And Bunny lets him. Over and over and over. Grr.)

I love both Sherlock Holmes and Poirot, and quite enjoyed the Arsene Lupin stories, and the close similarities between the stories may perhaps make me more critical of Raffles. Unless the stories are total spoofs, I have real issues sympathizing with amoral protagonists, and I simply couldn't adopt the point of view of the rather villainous Raffles and Bunny. At least initially, Raffles becomes a thief for the joy of the challenge, but at some point, his motivations shift into monetary gain and simple hubris. To me at least, this gave the stories an unpleasant taint that I was unable to shake. I also found the Bunny-Raffles relationship far more problematic than the others mentioned above. Bunny is too adoring, too uncritical, and too stupid for my taste, and Raffles mixes sneering contempt with a tendency to take advantage of Bunny's affection. It left me feeling that Raffles was even more cold and emotionless than Holmes, but without the latter's saving moral code and eccentricity.

Overall, the Raffles stories are classics and worth reading if you are exploring the genre. If you are just interested in a taste of British sleuth stories, you can't do better than to return to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. If you want a crime-solving upperclass twit, try A Man Lay Dead; if you want an upperclass cricket-playing twit, there's always Lord Peter Wimsey: Whose Body?. If you want to read about a charming thief, try some stories from the other side of the channel, namely, Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief. ( )
  page.fault | Sep 21, 2013 |
A quick read, through a series of interlinking short stories, which, unfortunately are not equally interesting. Will probably appeal to lovers of Sherlock Holmes. worthwhile example of 19th c literature for Y10+ lit students. ( )
  celerydog | May 22, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. W. Hornungprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Green, Richard LancelynEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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IT WAS ABOUT HALF-PAST TWELVE when I returned to the Albany as a last desperate resort. (The Ides of March)
One of the great merits of The Amateur Cracksman is that it can be read for enjoyment without the need for an introduction or for any of the scholarly apparatus which its classic status deserves. (Introduction)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439335, Mass Market Paperback)

The Ides of March/ A Costume Piece/ Gentlemen and Players/ Le Premier Pas/ Wilful Murder/ Nine Points of the Law/ The Return Match/ The Gift of the Emperor In these stories, Raffles, the public-school gentleman, mixes his aptitude for cricket with his passion for crime. Here we see Raffles stealing from the nouveau riche and outwitting the law, thieving diamonds and bowling like a demon, all with the help of his accomplice and ex-fag Bunny.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:13 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In these stories, Raffles, the public-school gentleman, mixes his aptitude for cricket with his passion for crime. Here we see Raffles stealing from the nouveau riches and outwitting the law, thieving diamonds and bowling like a demon, all with the help of his accomplice and ex-fag Bunny.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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