E. W. Hornung

Franklin Library E. W. Hornung books

Raffles - Library of Mystery Masterpieces - 1990

E. W. Hornung biography

Ernest William Hornung, commonly known as E. W. Hornung, was an English author best known for his creation of the fictional character A.J. Raffles, a gentleman thief. He was born on June 7, 1866, in Middlesbrough, England, and died on March 22, 1921. Hornung was the third son of a Hungarian immigrant, and he studied at Uppingham School and later at the City and Guilds of London Art School. He started his career as a journalist and worked for various publications, including the St. James's Gazette and The New Review.

His most famous works are the Raffles stories, which were first published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A.J. Raffles is a character who is a cricketer and a gentleman by day but becomes a daring burglar by night. The stories often revolve around Raffles and his friend and accomplice, Bunny Manders. The first collection of Raffles stories, titled The Amateur Cracksman, was published in 1899.

E. W. Hornung was also the brother-in-law of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, and there are some similarities between Raffles and Holmes, though Raffles operates on the other side of the law. Hornung wrote other novels and stories as well, but none achieved the same level of popularity as the Raffles series.

Despite the success of the Raffles stories, Hornung struggled with health issues and financial difficulties throughout his life. He died in 1921 at the age of 54. While the popularity of his other works has faded over time, the character of A.J. Raffles continues to be remembered as one of the notable literary creations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Black Mask: Raffles - Further Adventures of the Amateur Cracksman - A.J. Raffles, The Gentleman Thief book 2

Originally published in The Strand Magazine, where he was second in popularity only to the legendary Sherlock Holmes, these stories introduced the world to antihero gentleman cricketer and thief, A.J. Raffles, along with his faithful cohort, Bunny Manders.

Since his friend and partner in crime, A. J. Raffles, jumped into the Mediterranean, Bunny Manders has scraped along as best he can. At Raffles’s side, he was witness to, and participant in, the most ingenious burglaries the underworld had ever seen. Without him, Bunny is a struggling ex-convict, so down on his luck that he answers an ad seeking a male nurse and companion for a notoriously rude invalid. But when he lights the old man’s Sullivan cigarette and sees a perfect smoke ring float into the air, Bunny cries out in delight. Raffles is back, and ready for adventure.

Raffles is amazing; his resource is perfect; he talks like a gentleman and acts like one, except when occupied with pressing business in another man's house at midnight, and naturally he has a 'cool nerve,' a nerve positively arctic. They all have nerves like that, these Raffleses.
In the second installment in E. W. Hornung’s crackerjack crime series, England’s greatest jewel thief is up to all of his old tricks and many ingenious new ones—none so spectacular as turning Queen Victoria herself into an accomplice.

Stories include:
The Ides of March
A Costume Piece
Gentlemen and Players
Le Premier Pas
Wilful Murder
Nine Points of the Law
The Return Match
The Gift of the Emperor

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