71) Barry Perowne — Raffles of the M.C.C.
Not the original Raffles stories, but one of the pastiche collections. Alas, I have not yet read the original as created by EW Hornung (though I’m currently enjoying the 1970s tv series on DVD), so I have no idea how well this compares, either in fidelity to the tone of the original, or in quality of writing. It was simply the Raffles book that happened to be possessed by my local library in the dim and distant past, when the way one tracked down books one had heard of was to consult the library’s copy of “Books in Print”. I liked it well enough as a teenager to grab a copy when I saw it a few years ago, and thought I’d re-read it in conjunction with watching the DVDs.
I don’t find it quite as good now as I remember it being thirty years ago, but that’s a change in my reading tastes rather than a criticism of the book. It’s still good fun, and staying on my bookcase. This collection includes 11 short stories, each a nicely constructed mystery/caper. Some of them also include as secondary characters historical figures that a contemporary reader at the time of publication would be expected to recognise, although in the period of the story they were as yet unknown to the public at large. I suspect that this conceit could prove irritating to some readers, but I enjoyed it.