Raffles has been called the 'greatest cracksman in the literature of roguery'. That doyen of detective fiction, Ellery Queen, has described this gentleman-by-day who becomes a master-burglar-by-night as the inspiration for many other fictional characters, including James Bond. Like Bond, Raffles is handsome and debonaire, with expensive tastes, yet quick, cunning and utterly ruthless when the need arises. And just as Bond is a master of the gaming tables, so Raffles is considered 'one of the best cricket players in the world'. But while Bond is on the side of law and order, Raffles lives by outwitting the law and the criminal fraternity alike - pulling off some of the most daring burglaries imaginable. To the world he is a gentleman of leisure, living in the Albany, playing cricket for England and using his charm to gain entry to the fashionable houses he later robs. Such was the success of the Raffles stories when they were first published at the turn of the century, that they almost eclipsed the popularity of Sherlock Holmes, the creation of Hornung's. brother-in-law. (Like Holmes, Raffles has his assistant, Bunny, an ex-convict). Since then they have been imitated, parodied, turned into stage plays and films, with Raffles being played by such famous actors as John Barrymore, Ronald Colman and the late David Niven. Despite this continuing popularity, the short stories of Raffles have never before been collected together in one volume. Many have been out of print for years and are extremely difficult to find.