The Adventures of Raffles
Publisher: Assembled Stories
Date: January 2013
Duration: 5 hours 9 minutes
"Why should I work when I could steal.’... Thus speaks A.J.Raffles, gentleman, finest slow bowler of his generation and shameless thief.
When Bunny, an old school acquaintance, confesses that he will be dishonorably disgraced for writing cheques which his bank will not meet, Raffles persuades him to assist in a burglary. From that moment Bunny is locked into a life of crime and, fortunately for his audience, recounts their adventures in a most thrilling way.
The stories in this volume are;‘The Ides of March’, ‘A Costume Piece’, ‘Gentleman and Players’, ‘Le Premier Pas’, ‘Wilful Murder’ and ‘Nine Points of the Law.’
E.W. Hornung was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s brother in law but Raffles is the very antithesis of Sherlock Homes -yet still a hero and one which the Victorians and succeeding generations , perhaps surprisingly, took to their hearts.
Classics don't have to be long or serious or heavy-going or all three. These stories about the Victorian dandy who has become a byword for quintessential, if not quite establishment, Englishness isn't remotely serious. It's a breeze, a soufflé, a gem. A lot of gems, because to finance his lavish lifestyle, old Harrovian AJ Raffles - who lives in Albany, belongs to the best clubs, plays cricket at Lord's for the Gentlemen against the Players and gambles heavily - is a jewel thief. His first job was a bank, but that was by pure chance, he tells his boggle-eyed trainee accomplice, Bunny, his former fag at Harrow. Raffles's preference is cat burgling, his target the jewellery shops around the corner in Bond Street. Most satisfying of all are the rocks worn by the society hostesses to whose homes he has been invited. Remember Chariots of Fire, when Lord Lindsay trains for the Olympics by leaping over all the brimming champagne glasses balanced by his butler on top of the hurdles? Raffles puts champagne corks on the spikes above steel entry gates, throws his tailcoat over the top and he's off. Peter Joyce has the toff's languid drawl down to a T.