Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Happy birthday, E. W. Hornung.

E. W. Hornung, creator of gentleman thief Raffles and the brother-in-law of Arthur Conan Doyle, was born on June 7, 1866. He died in 1921. Conan Doyle called him "a Dr. Johnson without the learning but with a finer wit" (Memories and Adventures 252). Hornung punned that "[...t]hough he might be more humble, there is no police like Holmes" (ibid.).

After Hornung's death, Barry Perowne continued the Raffles series, and Graham Greene wrote a play, The Return of A. J. Raffles, that starred Denholm Elliott. On film, both Ronald Colman (1930) and David Niven (1939) played the amateur cracksman, but the photo above shows Anthony Valentine in a 1975 British production now on DVD. There are also new Raffles radio programs available from Jim French Productions.

I was always terribly fond of Bunny Manders, Raffles's loyal if sometimes hapless sidekick.

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