The Amateur Cracksman


The Amateur Cracksman

Infobox short story |
name = The Amateur Cracksman
title_orig =
translator =
author = E.W. Hornung
country = flagicon|United Kingdom UK
language = English
series = AJ Raffles
genre = Crime fiction
publication_type =
publisher =
pub_date = 1899
english_pub_date =
preceded_by =
followed_by =The Black Mask

The Amateur Cracksman was the original short story collection by Ernest William Hornung featuring his most famous character A.J. Raffles a gentleman thief in late Victorian Great Britain. It was first published in 1899. The book was very well received and spawned three follow-ups, two more short story collections The Black Mask (1901), A Thief in the Night (1904) and a full-length novel Mr. Justice Raffles in 1909.

Arthur Raffles is a prominent member of London society, and a national sporting hero. As a cricketer he regularly represents England in Test matches. He uses this as a chance to commit a number of burgalries, primarily stealing valuable jewellry from his hosts. In this he is assisted by his friend, the younger, idealistic Bunny Manders. Both men are constantly under the surveillance of Inspector Mackenzie of Scotland Yard who is always thwarted in his attempts to pin the crimes on Raffles.

In the final story The Gift of the Emperor, Raffles is called into service on behalf of the Foreign Office who wish to recover a valuable pearl from a German diplomat staying in England.

The short stories included in the collection are:
*The Ides of March
*A Costume Peice
*Gentlemen and Players
*La Premier Pas
*Wilful Murder
*Nine Points of the Law
*The Return Match
*The Gift of the Emperor


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