Ernest William Hornung (7 June 1866 – 22 March 1921), known as Willie, was an English author, most famous for writing the Raffles series of novels about a gentleman thief in late Victorian London.
Probably the most famous thief of all fiction, Raffles was a man-about-town and famous cricketer by day and a master burglar by night. When they were first issued at the turn of the century, these stories rivaled the popularity of Sherlock Holmes and established the prototype for The Saint, James Bond, and the other gentleman-rogue figures of popular fiction. Raffles has been called "the greatest cracksman in the literature of roguery" by the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, while Ellery Queen has described Raffles as the "inspiration for the whole school of devil-may-care adventurers on the borderlines of the law, not least the eponymous James Bond."
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