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on 25 February 2012
Raffles: The Gentleman Thief is an excellent short story. It is detailed and interesting enough to quench a thirst for nostalgic and historical comfort whilst being compact enough to devour in the space of a lunchtime or train journey. For fans of Hornung's original stories, Foreman adds a fresh sense of adventure to Raffles, a respected and admired gentleman in London society with a penchant for larceny and pleasure. An addictive set of characters, a charming setting and Foreman's excellent dialogue bode very well for the next instalment.
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on 1 March 2012
Upon arrival at the first page, we are transported not just into the familiarity of London's society, but into a world of literary allusions and personalities. Foreman cleverly draws upon the landscapes of Dickens and reputations of writers like Wilde to excellent and frequently comical effect adding a richer visual and literary backdrop to his narrative.

However, the novella's webs of allusion do not merely tickle the fancy of a literary audience. Although it can be said that Foreman certainly mimics the Conan Doyle style, its wealth of references are not limited to his predecessors. The author recognises that many of his readers may be approaching the text following a relatively recent introduction to Sherlock Holmes in the popular BBC TV series and the recent film releases starring Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. The novella, therefore, is careful not to isolate the modern world and frequently engages in a spot of political satire. He situates his text in its historical and political setting, whilst playing upon both periods to an amusing end. When Raffles and Bunny are discussing the potential damage for the politician if the letter were to be released to the public, Raffles humorously states `I doubt that I'll have much sympathy for him, whoever he is. So many of them behave like bastards...lies trip of their tongues'. The reader cannot help but find itself nodding in agreement and tittering at its allusion to the parliamentary expenses scandal.

With Holmes and Watson, Foreman again draws upon the old and the new to create his characters. Raffles' description of Holmes as `protector or persecutor' compliments the well established perception of Holmes as a bipolar character and personality. However, with the relationship of Holmes and Watson, he lightly touches on the more modern perception of a homosexual and marital- like fondness and comfort between the pair, describing them as like `an old married couple'.

In brief, the text is a clever mix of both the old and the new; the literary and the political. In spite of its short length, Foreman's Raffles and Bunny are vibrant and amusing characters and Holmes' characteristically long and complex speeches do not disappoint. `Raffles: The Gentleman Thief' has something for everyone.
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on 26 February 2012
Unbelievably smart, gripping and wickedly funny. There is a great cameo from Sherlock Holmes, but the book belongs to Raffles. Have just bought the original stories by E. W. Hornung and if there half as good as Richard Foreman's re-boot then they'll be twice as good as most things.
Raffles: The Gentleman Thief is short, but there isn't a paragraph wasted and there is still time for a clever twist at the end. The narrator, Bunny, is sweet and likeable and provides a nice counterweight to Raffles.
Should you enjoy Sherlock Holmes - or Oscar Wilde or Flashman - then this series must be a must
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on 26 February 2012
This novella brings Raffles back to life in a witty and authentic way. It has all the adventure and charm of the original stories but with a very distinct modern touch from Foreman. Concise, it's a perfect short read for a journey and it will have you laughing out loud, as well as wanting more (there is a teaser chapter for the second book at the end of the first). There are a number of literary references littered throughout the text but, like the original stories by Hornung, Raffles: The Gentleman Thief aims to be good old fashioned entertainment - and succeeds.
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on 2 March 2012
I'm a big fan of Holmes and Watson but hadn't heard of Raffles. A friend introduced me to Forman's new take on this gentleman thief and I'm delighted he did. The book is beautifully written, full of eloquent dialogue and wonderfully debonair characters. It's comfort reading, where you know the good guys will come good in the end. The appearance of Holmes is a treat, as penetrating as ever he was in Conan Doyle's masterpieces. The plot is sleek, with a twist. I'd like to see this dramatized on TV. Looking forward to reading the next one. Keep them coming!
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on 8 March 2012
Great stuff, the work of a real enthusiast. Foreman has created a world where detective literature and history meet on more or less equal terms. Deftly handled and displaying a fine grasp of tension, this novella allows us to enter a milieu of deception, counter-deception, crime and derring-do where we encounter the greats of the detective genre. The perfect way to wile away a bus journey and more. I am about to download the next one and I am looking forward to it -- although I also hope that Foreman's hero, Raffles, doesn't have too easy a time of it.
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on 1 March 2012
The Gentleman Thief takes the reader back to the London of Sherlock Holmes, but populated by a host of literary icons such as Wilde and Radcliff. Yet at the same time those familiar with London now will laugh as they recognise the many in-jokes in Bunny's narrative. The characters A J Raffles and Bunny, as in the original Hornung series, are an intentional inversion of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson - albeit with the tastes and manners that you would expect from an English gentlemen. The book is short, yet despite this it manages to fit in excellent character development, particularly in the relationship between Raffles and Bunny, alongside a descriptive historical and contextual setting and a plot worthy of Conan Doyle.
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on 22 April 2012
A fan of Sherlock Holmes? Read E. W. Hornung's stories about the gentleman thief A. J. Raffles and his trusty sidekick Bunny, written lovingly and tongue-in-cheek by Conan Doyle's friend and brother-in-law. A fan of Sherlock Holmes and Raffles? Read Raffles: The Gentleman Thief, by Richard Foreman, because it is the perfect fandom mashup, as we fans would put it.

This new original story by Foreman sees our favorite amateur cracksman Raffles - famous cricket player by day, infamous jewel thief by night - hired by none other than Baker Street's most famous detective Sherlock Holmes. He is, of course, to steal something, a job Holmes characteristically just cannot be bothered with himself. Readers of Hornung's Raffles stories may have wondered where Holmes fits into this universe, if at all. Surely London's most famous thief wouldn't go unnoticed? In the BBC Raffles radio plays Holmes exists in an offhand comment, and in the TV series, Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character in a book, which is obviously a reference for laughs. But in Foreman's short story he is very real. In fact, Holmes finds him more of a useful asset than a threat. Remember that Holmes never particularly cared for morals or political games, and that is exactly what saves Raffles when he is offered a job he cannot resist.

Foreman manages to write in the same spirit and atmosphere as the original Raffles stories, complete with Victorian foggy London, dirty alleys and the frivolous way of upper class life that Raffles despises and yet entertains so easily. He even adds a bit of social awareness, and perhaps a few observations about modern society too; with comments on growing tourism and the popularity of Madam Tussuad's wax museum on Marylebone Street. However, that doesn't take away from Bunny's reflections on the world around him. On the contrary, it's fitting. Raffles was, after all, a kind of unrecognized Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and, if not exactly giving to the poor (except the unfortunate Bunny), then at least ensuring his and Bunny's bachelor lives.

Apart from writing an aloof yet charming Raffles and a devoted and slightly self effacing Harry "Bunny" Manders, Richard Foreman manages to write Holmes and Watson as domestic as ever. They are, by nature of the story, observed by Bunny, who considers them an old married couple, and it shows in his perfectly canonical writing. I cannot recommend this enough for both Raffles and Holmes fans. It will leave you wanting more, and I for one am looking forward to his next installment.
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on 22 May 2012
I recieved this story as part of a promotion from the publisher. Having recently finished some of the original Sherlock Holmes books I was in the mood to discover the Raffles reboot.

The story is well written and I quickly finished the book (including the now customary first 2 chapters of the next book in the series) before downloading the next one to continue the adventure. To be fair the story contains nothing original (but what does?)and the 'twist' was pretty obvious (but only perhaps because I had recently finished reading Conan Doyles work). It did make me laugh (once)and the story flowed smoothy to a satisfactory conclusion.

If your a fan of Sherlock Holmes or the original Raffles stories this is worth a read. Am currently half way through the second in the series and there appears to be plenty of potential for the storys to keep coming.
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on 29 July 2012
Well written, short but entertaining, worthy of a four star rating. Sadly the twist at the end was obvious and for me at least the in jokes jarred badly,and just a little more plot would have been better. Nevertheless it was a fun read and I will read more of this author's work in the future.
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