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Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman

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Author: E.W. Hornung
Published: 1899
Language: English
Wordcount: 50,038 / 141 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 83.9
LoC Category: PR
Series: Raffles
Downloads: 3,979 3649

Raffles is, in many ways, a deliberate inversion of Sherlock Holmes: he is a 'gentleman thief,' living at a very upscale 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 differentiates between himself and the 'professors' -- professional criminals from the lower classes.

Show Excerpt

be putting on an overcoat while you help yourself."

Well, I daresay I did so with some freedom, for this plan of his was not the less distasteful to me from its apparent inevitability. I must own, however, that it possessed fewer terrors before my glass was empty. Meanwhile Raffles rejoined me, with a covert coat over his blazer, and a soft felt hat set carelessly on the curly head he shook with a smile as I passed him the decanter.

"When we come back," said he. "Work first, play afterward. Do you see what day it is?" he added, tearing a leaflet from a Shakespearian calendar, as I drained my glass. "March 15th. 'The Ides of March, the Ides of March, remember.' Eh, Bunny, my boy? You won't forget them, will you?"

And, with a laugh, he threw some coals on the fire before turning down the gas like a careful householder. So we went out together as the clock on the chimney-piece was striking two.


Piccadilly was a trench of raw white fog, rimmed with blurred street-lamps, and l

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 3.5 from 2 reviews: ****
Leah A. Zeldes

The seminal criminal-as-hero story, somewhat dated in light of all that's been written since, but still a good read.


Pretty good -- a little bit conflicted, with a gentleman thief and his gambling addict friend committing crimes against the super-rich or foolish high-society types. If nothing else it puts Lawrence Block's "Bernie Rhodenbarr" stories into context.



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