Hornung's gentleman thief made his first appearance in print in The Amateur Cracksman in 1899, a collection of tales succeeded by another short story series, The Black Mask, in 1901, and in 1905, a final series, A Thief in the Night. In the latter volume, Hornung, like several other authors before and since, decided to put an end to his own literary creation. He came closer to succeeding than Conan Doyle did with Sherlock Holmes, L. Frank Baum with the land of Oz, or Ian Fleming with James Bond. In the final Raffles short story, partly out of patriotism, partly in expiation for his life of crime, A. J. enlists along with Bunny as soldiers in the Boer War, and during a battle, Raffles is shot by enemy fire.
But four years later, in 1909, Hornung brought back his shady pair in Mr. Justice Raffles, a novel that like Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles is not a resurrection but a reminiscence, a postscript acknowledged as such in its final chapter.