"Why should I work when I could steal?" demands A. J. Raffles, a dashing man-about-town by day and a cat burglar by night. Raffles' position as a champion cricket player and prominent member of society provides the perfect cover for his daring burglaries. In these sparklingly humorous stories — narrated by Bunny Manders, Raffles' nervous but admiring accomplice — the gentleman thief matches wits with professional criminals, crafty diamond merchants, and other worthy adversaries, including irksome Inspector Mackenzie of Scotland Yard. The character of A. J. Raffles, who debuted in 1898, offered Victorian readers a new kind of hero: a morally ambiguous character who anticipated the hardboiled detectives of 20th-century crime fiction. "There are few finer examples of short-story writing in our language than these," declared Arthur Conan Doyle of author E. W. Hornung's enduringly entertaining tales. Loaded with intrigue, cunning, and drollery, these comic gems are among the great treasures of crime fiction.