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Rafferty. Rafferty was created by A.E. Apple (Mr. Chang) and appeared in twenty-one stories in Detective Story Magazine from 1927 to 1931, beginning with “Rafferty, Master Rogue” (Detective Story Magazine, Oct. 1, 1927).
Rafferty is a Lupin, and is perhaps the most ambitious of them. He commits no small-time, low-yield thefts, only crimes on a grand scale. He robs banks that carry $20 million and entire city blocks’ worth of stores. He robs a large casino, emptying it completely; he completely loots a museum, just to decorate his underground hideout; he kidnaps twenty young socialite debutantes and holds them ransom for five million dollars each. Of course, because Rafferty is a gentleman, he does not follow through on either his threats or his ransom gathering, instead letting the young ladies go free, on the grounds that no gentleman will prey on a lady. At length Rafferty begins preying on other criminals, rather than society at large, on the grounds that he won’t keep the loot “in cases where the loss will mean suffering.” Rafferty even takes on Mr. Chang, but they duel to a draw, although not without much exertion on both sides.
Rafferty’s archenemy is Bradley, a former school chum who became a world-famous private detective. Unfortunately, Rafferty has embarrassed the portly and slow-seeming Bradley on a number of occasions, in a public fashion, and Bradley devotes all of his time and effort to capturing Rafferty. Bradley is unscrupulous in his pursuit of Rafferty and will use any means as long as they bring his bete noir to heel. Bradley eventually captures Rafferty, but on the day of his trial Rafferty’s assistant Herr Heine gasses the entire courtroom and exits, stage left, with the sleeping Rafferty over his shoulder, and the pair go on to wage more war on society.
Rafferty is suave, debonair, immaculately dressed, and is always polite and well-spoken. He is aided by his faithful gang, which sometimes numbers in the thousands, but his aide de camp is “Herr Heinie,” a gluttonous, obese former anarchist and scientist. Heinie is a nasty ethnic stereotype of Germans, his only good points being that he invents the weapons that Rafferty uses to commit his crimes, the gas guns, trap doors, and infrared searchlights. Originally he was bribed to join Rafferty’s gang and rebelled, trying to poison Rafferty, but he stayed of his own volition and became Rafferty’s faithful assistant.
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