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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific read
Do you want stories of derring-do, danger and nerve, and a sense of having accompanied the hero, then Raffles is for you.

The author EW Hornung was a friend of Conan Doyle's and later his brother-in law.
But where Sherlock Holmes was a creation of unimpeachable integrity, Raffles is a gentleman thief! However, sympathy is drawn to Raffles because of his...
Published on 8 Sep 2010 by nogl22 (Wimbledon)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Those were the days
If one were ever to take up a fledgling career as a gentleman thief, these were undoubtedly the days in which to do it. No worries about finger prints, or forensic evidence, the ability to use the simplest tools and merely having to watch for the bobby on the beat rather than thinking about CCTV. It's all very gentlemanly indeed.

Raffles is a young man about...
Published on 15 Feb 2010 by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific read, 8 Sep 2010
This review is from: Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Penguin Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
Do you want stories of derring-do, danger and nerve, and a sense of having accompanied the hero, then Raffles is for you.

The author EW Hornung was a friend of Conan Doyle's and later his brother-in law.
But where Sherlock Holmes was a creation of unimpeachable integrity, Raffles is a gentleman thief! However, sympathy is drawn to Raffles because of his many virtues, and a sense that he is also being hounded by nasty elements which must be overcome. He is a match for Sherlock Holmes in gallantry and loyalty, and perhaps more likeable. His crimes are delicious fun.

The author writes intelligently, making plain some of the motivations and human weaknesses of the hero Raffles and his faithful lieutenant. And like life, the stupid, the tragic and the unexpected all intervene, rather like difficult waves for the heros to navigate. Both thrilling and believable, you feel you are there. The stories move quickly and leave you hanging around for more! Effortless fun and perfect relexation.

It deserves 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just The Ticket!, 1 Dec 2011
This review is from: Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Penguin Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
A REVIEW OF `RAFFLES: AMATEUR CRACKSMAN' BY E.W. HORNUNG

Imagine that you are playing the board game, `Twenty Questions' and the category is "Who am I?" What would your answer be to the following clues?
1. I am a literary character created in the late nineteenth century whose adventures continued into the early twentieth century.
2. Most of my adventures are chronicled in short story format.
3. I live at a fashionable London address.
4. My work is carried out on the scenes of crimes.
5. I am a master of disguise.
6. I carry out my work with a sidekick who joined me in my first written adventure.
7. My stories are narrated by my side kick.
8. My assistant is often frustrated by my withholding of vital information during the course of a story.
By the time you get to the third or fourth clue, no doubt you would be punching the air in triumph and shouting out the name, "Sherlock Holmes". If you did, you would be WRONG. Let's add another couple of clues:
9. I operate on the wrong side of the law, specialising in burglary.
10. I am often unsuccessful.
Clearly these are not descriptions of Baker Street's finest. Instead, all ten clues apply to one of Holmes's contemporaries, the thieving gentleman, A.J. Raffles. However, without the addition of 9 and 10, the parallels are remarkable. To further entwine the two, there was a family connection between the authors, as Raffles was created by E.W. Hornung, the brother-in-law of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Nevertheless, to simply condemn Raffles as nothing more than a slightly-warped rehash of Sherlock Holmes is to do both author and character a disservice. `Raffles: Amateur Cracksman' (1899) is a terrific introduction to a truly engaging literary creation in his own right. The book is made up of eight short stories, the first of which sets the scene beautifully as Raffles saves an old school chum, Harry "Bunny" Manders from taking his own life by offering him a world of amateur safe-breaking as a way of escaping crushing debts. The fascinating and intriguing element to the whole set-up is that both raffles and Bunny are well-educated, would-be respectable citizens who should know better. And yet, the allure and rush of financial crime proves irresistible.

Although, on one level, the premise is absurd, Hornung tells his tales with such joie-de-vivre that the reader is sucked in. It is too much to say that we are cheering the criminals on, but we certainly want to find out how their exploits will progress. As thieves, Raffles cannot claim to be in the premier league. Although there are successes, there are also glaring failures and near escapes, which adds to the otherwise dubious credibility of the tales.

What arguably prevents `Raffles: Amateur Cracksman' from being a truly great book is the inconsistent quality of the stories. Take the final two tales, `The Return Match' and `The Gift of The Emperor'. The former is a rather claustrophobic adventure set in and around Raffles' rooms with limited movement and incident, whilst the latter is a surprisingly memorable finale set at sea that offers a wonderfully cinematic closing image (a possible optical illusion by Bunny?) to leave the reader wanting more adventures. The length of the stories is another limitation. Many feel 5-10 pages too brief, being rather too economical with plot and detail. This was no doubt a restriction applied by the original publishers who printed the stories in their periodicals.

Nevertheless, for those who have exhausted all of the original Sherlock Holmes adventures and hanker for stories in a similar vein, `Raffles: Amateur Cracksman' is well worthy of investigation and a widespread rediscovery. In fact, you could argue that Raffles is just the ticket!

Barty's Score: 8 / 10
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Those were the days, 15 Feb 2010
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Penguin Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
If one were ever to take up a fledgling career as a gentleman thief, these were undoubtedly the days in which to do it. No worries about finger prints, or forensic evidence, the ability to use the simplest tools and merely having to watch for the bobby on the beat rather than thinking about CCTV. It's all very gentlemanly indeed.

Raffles is a young man about town, a top drawer sportsman and all round bon viveur. His lifestyle is kept up by the odd priceless jewel theft or smuggling artistic masterpieces and it's all very much ruled by a thieves code. Bunny, his ambivalent side kick narrates these stories with a mixture of horror and admiration and it makes for a very strange bunch of short stories. I can see the parallels with Sherlock Holmes, and I thought I would enjoy looking at the other side of the law for a change, but I have to confess to preferring the, in my opinion, more complex figure of Holmes to the infinitely more slightly drawn Raffles.

It's fun, but that's about it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An athlete of the first water, 31 Mar 2011
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Officer Dibble (Zummerzet) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Penguin Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
The book contains eight short stories each featuring an adventure of the gentleman burglar and his accomplice/narrator/fag, 'Bunny'.

Please note that in this Penguin Classics edition the stories occupy 140 pages, with the book being bulked-up by exhaustive notes and a long introduction.

Bunny is 'spellbound and entranced' by the world of crime as he is besotted with Raffles,'beyond comparison the most masterful man I had ever known'. Raffles is not quite the Hurrah Henry one might expect and really owes his social inclusion more to his cricketing skills than his class.

Scotland yard has a small cameo from Inspector Mackenzie but the most fun character is Crawshay a fellow 'sportsman' on the run from Dartmoor.

Would have been rather daring in 1899. Best enjoyed as a dip-in read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Entertainment, 21 Nov 2009
By 
S Jones (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Penguin Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories and long for further trips to the Victorian London of hansom cabs, thick fog, gentlemens clubs and tales of mild danger, then this is the collection for you. Raffles and Bunny are very obviously modelled on Holmes and Watson (Hornung was Conan Doyle's brother in law), although unlike Holmes, Raffles is of course on the "wrong side" of the law. That said, as a Victorian gentleman, and cricketer, he applies his own moral code to his burglaries - his victims are usually coarse or ill-mannered, and where they are not he is to be found outwitting the "professors" - working class thieves who steal for a living. It is possible to critique these stories in the context of the Victorian class structure, but that's taking them far too seriously - just read them as well written, entertaining short stories which will pass a winter's evening.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent piece for a long journey filler, 3 Oct 2009
By 
D. Ellis "jacules" (wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Penguin Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
A very interesting book which proved to be very humorous .It is in much in demand by fellow members of this classical sport within our small group.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good book, 30 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Penguin Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
As shown on time, good book prezy
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Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Penguin Classics)
Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (Penguin Classics) by E. W. Hornung (Mass Market Paperback - 27 Mar 2003)
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