On the eve of the second Presidential debate, my mind latched on to this literary TV character......
AS SEEN IN:
'The Rivals Of Sherlock Holmes'
("The Assyrian Rejuvenator")
R. Austin Freeman
From Coachwhip Publications:
To all appearances Romney Pringle is a literary agent down on his luck, but in truth he is a con man with extraordinary talents, always looking for a way to add to his coffers. Not without a heart, he will help out an unfortunate stranger, but he can't resist helping himself along the way.
Originally published from 1902-1903, all twelve stories are included in this collection. It is a terrific addition to the criminal rogue bookshelf. (Romney Pringle was even included in Ellery Queen's "Quorum" of important and influential mystery and crime stories.)
The Age of the Gentleman Crook is long gone and Romney Pringle, the ostensible literary agent of turn of the century London, was certainly not the most prominent of the lot. His predecessors (Colonel Clay and Raffles) and his antecedents (Arsene Lupin and Simon Templar) are, with the possible exception of Clay, more well known.
Pringle lives by his wits and his keen observational powers. He is a consummate student of human nature and when he observes unusual or curious behavior he doggedly pursues those exhibiting it until he reaches his goal, which is self-enrichment. Although he usually ends up extracting treasure from a fellow criminal, occasionally an innocent is victimized. Pringle is no brute and never resorts to violence. A partial listing of his crimes is as follows: Patent medicine fraud, mail fraud, forgery, stock market manipulation, robbery, burglary, impersonation and treason (or something close to it).
Pringle enjoys fine art, bicycling, boating and fishing. He is a chemist, gemologist and master of disguises. He is a true loner—no fawning Boswell is present to record his adventures.
From the source ("The Kimberley Fugitive"):