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Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman: 04/13/21

Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman

Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman by E.W. Hornung is the first of three collections of short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle's brother in law. Where Sherlock is a detective, Raffles is a thief (when he's not playing cricket). Bunny, his border and implied lover, is a writer and accomplice.

These stories are part slash fan-fiction from the end of the nineteenth century through the early twentieth century. Except the characters are the antithesis of Holmes and Watson. They are also caricatures of friends of Hornung, Oscar Wilde and his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas.

But— Hornung's writing leaves me bored and restless. If Watson's hero worship of Holmes is bad, Bunny's is a whole level worse. While the first story where they meet and decide to rob a jewelers together is fun, the remaining stories I attempted were painfully slow and dull.

For a better "anti-Sherlock" that gets the original tone of the stories while still having fun with being a pastiche, I highly recommend the manga series, Moriarty the Patriot by Ryōsuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi. The anime, by the way, is also excellent.

Two stars

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