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on 1 April 2012
Glad to see these classy stories bundled up into an Omnibus, a 3 for 2 if you like. Richard Foreman's Raffles adventures are a glorious mix of crime, satire and cricket. There is a touching friendship at the heart of these books, in regards to Raffles and Bunny, and each story has both a number of in-jokes in regards to society today and also a clever twist at the end. Particularly liked Raffles: Bowled Over, with introduction of C. B. Fry into the cast of characters
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on 3 May 2012
I found out about these books from buying the short story Raffles: Stumped. The Raffles series of books are simply the most enjoyable short stories you will read on kindle this year. They're wonderfully addictive (each story can be read in isolation but yet they're connected too so best to read in order) and you sense the enjoyment the author feels in writing them and playing with his characters, both those from history and those completely fictional. You don't need to be knowledgeable about cricket or the period but I got more out of the books by having wikipedia open to get background on C. B. Fry and Lord Rosebery.
The third book, A Perfect Wicket, was my personal favourite. One minute you're laughing, the next you're sighing with the sweetness of the romance and friendship between Raffles and Bunny. Looking forward to further adventures. I hope Raffles and Sherlock Holmes cross paths again.
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on 24 April 2012
A fantastic collection, each story delves deeper into the character of Raffles and 'Bunny' Manders. The plots/twists are clever (and not always predictable). With enough flavour in each individual tale to keep you immersed in the world of England's notorious cricket player and thief, the stories are a recipe for great, light reading. Well written, well researched.
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on 14 June 2012
There is honour among thieves. Richard Foreman's reinvention of A.J. Raffles is underscored by morality of sorts. The exploitative rich are robbed, habitual criminals are caught, and men of true nobility triumph -- or at least do not suffer the indignity of having their baubles snaffled by our silver-tongued felons. At the centre of Richard Foreman's three-storied omnibus is the close and criminal relationship between Raffles and Harry `Bunny' Manders.

Raffles, for those of who do not know him, is a debonair rogue -- a sparkling bon vivant with penchants for cricket and larceny. He is known as `the amateur cracksman', which is misleading because he is an astonishingly expert thief. Foreman has him locking horns with Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes over an intemperate cabinet minister, plundering a shady American nouveau riche, and planning to lighten the former Prime Minister, Lord Roseberry, of some priceless and sentimental heirlooms. All the while, he is embarrassing the insufferable WG Grace on the cricket pitch, boozing with C.B. Fry, and bedding both the better and worse halves of London. It's tremendous, easy going fun.

Foreman is careful not to bastardise E.W. Hornung's famous creation. His Raffles is recognisable and becomes more rounded as Foreman hits his stride over the course of the trilogy. The allusions to cricket overwhelm the character at first, but these soon subside and Raffles can be understood through something other than his enviable batting average.

Perhaps it's my imagination, but Foreman gives himself more latitude with Bunny. This is the one area where Foreman's Raffles differs from Hornung's: he is not so cruel to his timid accomplice, who grows in stature (and cunning) over the books. Bunny is an attentive reporter of late Victorian society and a very companionable narrator. His voice is sympathetic and lit with wit. While Raffles has the best lines, Bunny has the best pen. He'd give Dr Watson a run for his money in that regard, if not in a ruck against Blackheath Rugby Club.

Watson was chided by Holmes for seeing rather than observing. But Watson was very observant when it came to pretty young women. Indeed, he was so observant as to be susceptible to them. Bunny is no different, although his self-effacing charm makes him more successful than artless Dr Watson in the game of love.

Foreman's stories feature several strident women. These strong-willed characters are well drawn, and Foreman avoids patronising late Victorian society or imposing anachronistic values. He is much too interested in his characters and plots to divert attention to great issues of the day. Suffragettes spar with men over dining tables, but Raffles merely rolls his twinkling eyes and does not consider the issue beyond quipping that one of his sexual targets has `joined the suffragettes, but no one's perfect.' Period detail need not require a period piece.
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on 16 July 2012
It is wonderful to see these new Raffles stories collected together as I got a better feel for the main characters, the mysterious Raffles and his accomplice 'Bunny' Manders. Whilst paying his dues to Hornung's original writing, Foreman is really hitting his stride with these, adding his own flair and wit. I particularly enjoy the clever period details in Bunny's narration and the way in which these are manipulated to reflect very topical concerns. This omnibus edition is littered with famous faces and characters from the cricketing greats of C.B. Fry and W.G. Grace to the literary figures of Sherlock Holmes and H.G. Wells who add to the unexpected twists and turns in the story. Liked the female characters of Mary Flanagan and Lucy too. Three classy, humorous and surprisingly touching tales of cricket, friendship and crime.
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on 7 March 2016
Light and lightly entertaining. It feelslike the author is trying too hard to be witty and shoild just relax and write. The syntax becomes convoluted and it genuinely distracts! Perhaps a firmer hand by the editor would have allowed for a better red.

Having said that, the concept is fun and the stories themselves light and easy. Would have been disappointed to have paid full price as they are very short and one dimensional.
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