Mr Justice Raffles
ends the Raffles
series by E W Hornung
with one long story in which Raffles
matches wits with a moneylender as clever and resourceful as himself. Hornung
is a superb storyteller and this comes closer to a conventional crime novel than the earlier Raffles
stories, with hero and anti-hero (whichever is which) creatively thinking their ways out of all sorts of impossible situations.
“You may be the biggest man alive at your job; you are certainly the biggest villain.”Raffles’
“But I’m up against a bigger now,” said Levy, shifting his position and closing his crimson eyes.
“Possibly,” said Raffles.
--Mr Justice Raffles, E W Hornung (1909)
behaviour is unconventional, but only technically illegal, which removes some of the tension of the other stories. In exchange, Hornung
makes the “stupid” character (there always has to be one) Raffles’
loyal chum, Bunny
, rather than the villain (too easy) or a girlfriend (too predictable). That is only a small twist, but it is typical of choices Hornung
makes to bring Mr Justice Raffles
up to the level of a highly superior early twentieth-century crime-adventure story.