A daily note on some event in the history of mystery fiction.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
6/7/1866. Hornung horns in
June 7, 1866. E.W. Hornung was born in Middlesborough on this
date. He became a published writer at age twenty. His great claim to
fame was his invention of A.J. Raffles, "the amateur cracksman." In
other words, Raffles was a gentleman burglar, essentially the first
hero-rogue in the mystery genre. The stories were narrated by Bunny
Manders, Raffles' faithful companion.
If that sound vaguely familiar, you're right. The stories were a sort
of parody or answer to the Sherlock Holmes stories created by Arthur
Conan Doyle, who happened to be Hornung's borther-in-law. Doyle
admitted the tales were of high quality but, like many reviewers, found
them morally abhorrent.
Like Doyle, Hornung killed his hero, having Raffles slain during the Second Boer War. Unlike Holmes, Raffles stayed dead.