Posts Tagged ‘ewhornung’


Shadow of the Rope

December 13, 2011

So, here’s a weird book. A hard one to talk about, too. The Shadow of the Rope, by E.W. Hornung, best known as the author of the Raffles stories.

Have you ever read Strong Poison, by Dorothy Sayers? This starts a lot like that, with a young woman on trial for murder. He’s her husband rather than her ex-boyfriend, but you’ve got the discussion of the evidence, the samples of popular opinion, and the faithfully attending onlooker whose main interest is in the accused. It’s similar enough — more in the way it’s described than in the details of the story — that I think Sayers must have read it, and been inspired by it.

The similarities end with the trial. Rachel Minchin is acquitted of the murder of her husband, but she finds, on her release from prison, that she has nowhere to go. The public believes her guilty, and a mob attacks her house. Not that she can stay there anyway — all her stuff’s been cleared out. She has no friends, and no one believes in her innocence. That’s when the mysterious Mr. James Buchanan Steel shows up, doing an excellent job at walking the fine line between kindly benefactor and creepy stalker. She vaguely remembers him from the trial, and she finds him kind of fascinating, so eventually she agrees to his proposal of marriage. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Amateur Cracksman

June 12, 2009
It occurs to me that I have never written about Raffles. Lots of people have heard of Raffles, I think, but not many people have read any of the stories. Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t either, except for an attempt to listen to the audiobook of The Amateur Cracksman (no matter how hard I try, I will never have enough patience for audiobooks).

Anyway, Raffles. He’s an excellent cricket player! He has dark, curly hair! He leads his old friend Bunny into a life of crime! Read the rest of this entry ?