Re: RARA-AVIS: E W Hornung.

From: Jess Nevins (
Date: 11 Nov 2007

Raffles is certainly the best-known of the English Gentleman Thieves, but he wasn't the first--that was Grant Allen's Colonel Clay, followed by Guy Boothby's Simon Carne. The Colonel Clay stories are better-written, lacking the moral confusion and incoherence of the Raffles stories as well as the egregious Bunny Manders.

None of them are as good as Maurice Leblanc's Arsene Lupin stories, of course, and although the dozens of international Gentlemen Thieves appearing before 1945 used the outlines of Raffles for their own characters, it was the particulars of Lupin, especially his relationship with the police, which were most imitated.

So I'd have to say that it was Lupin and not Raffles who was most influential. Although Hornung was working in imitation of Allen and Boothby, he eclipsed them in terms of fame. But Leblanc eclipsed Hornung in terms of influence.

jess nevins

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