A Thief in the Night is the third collection of stories detailing the exploits and intrigues of gentleman thief A. J. Raffles in late Victorian England. In public a popular sportsman, in private a cunning burglar with a weakness for valuable jewelery, Arthur Raffles, with the help of his side-kick Bunny Manders, always manages to thwart the investigations of Scotland Yard's Inspector Mackenzie. Popular in its day, this is the last collection of short stories about E. W. Hornung's most famous character - followed only by a novel, Mr. Justice Raffles.
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About the Author
In 1898 he wrote "In the Chains of Crime", which introduced Raffles and his sidekick, Bunny Manders; the characters were based partly on his friends Oscar Wilde and his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, and also on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The series of Raffles short stories were collected for sale in book form in 1899, and two further books of Raffles short stories followed, as well as a poorly received novel. Aside from his Raffles stories, Hornung was a prodigious writer of fiction, publishing numerous books from 1890, with A Bride from the Bush to his 1914 novel The Crime Doctor.
The First World War brought an end to Hornung's fictional output. His son, Oscar, was killed at the Second Battle of Ypres in July 1915. Hornung joined the YMCA, initially in England, then in France, where he helped run a canteen and library. He published two collections of poetry during the war, and then, afterwards, one further volume of verse and an account of his time spent in France, Notes of a Camp-Follower on the Western Front. Hornung's fragile constitution was further weakened by the stress of his war work. To aid his recuperation, he and his wife visited the south of France in 1921. He fell ill from influenza on the journey, and died on 22 March 1921, aged 54.
Although much of Hornung's work has fallen into obscurity, his Raffles stories continued to be popular, and have formed numerous film and television adaptations. Hornung's stories dealt with a wider range of themes than crime: he examined scientific and medical developments, guilt, class and the unequal role played by women in society. Two threads that run through a sizeable proportion of his books are Australia and cricket; the latter was also a lifelong passion.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Audacious as ever, Raffles and Bunny will have you turning pages and shaking your head at their burglaries and misadventures. This third book in the stories of Raffles, who is addicted to thrills and danger (the main reason he pursues a life of crime rather than earn a living respectably), and Bunny, his follower and chronicler, even in war, does not disappoint. I will have to look for the fourth book elsewhere as it is not available for Nook at the time of this review.
A wonderful collection of stories featuring the gentleman thief.