New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1899. 4 pp undated ads. Original olive green cloth decorated in gilt.
First American Edition of this collection of eight tales that introduced to the public the remarkable gentleman-cricketer-thief Arthur J. Raffles.
Raffles... is one of the most fascinating rascals of modern fiction. Born and bred a gentleman, he enters upon an astonishing career of crime, bringing to every enterprise high spirits, an iron nerve, a buoyant wit, and a perfect ease and self-possession. The combination which he shows of resource and of cunning, of patience and of precision, of head work and of handiwork, stamps him a veritable artist in crime, well worthy to rank with his counterpart, Sherlock Holmes [from the ads in this volume].
The comparison to Holmes is not coincidental: six years earlier, Hornung had married Conan Doyle's sister Constance, and this book's dedication reads "To A.C.D. This Form of Flattery"; in fact, just like Dr. Watson, it is Raffles's sidekick Bunny who is the narrator of these tales. A.J. Raffles has been on the big screen four times -- in 1917 (John Barrymore), in 1925 (House Peters), in 1930 (Ronald Colman), and in 1940 (David Niven) -- as well as on the small screen in a 1975 series.
This is a near-fine copy (scarcely any wear, but as always with this color cloth, the spine is sunned to a light brown). Item #14526