The Mystery of a Hansom Cab

Front Cover
Text Publishing Company, 1999 - Crime - 309 pages
A crime has been committed by an unknown assassin, within a short distance of the principal streets of this great city (Melbourne), and is surounded by an impenetrable mystery. Written in the 1880's at about the same time our College, Riverview, began.

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User Review  - Obosman - LibraryThing

Apparently this book caused quite a sensation at the time it was published, but I found it rather tepid. It lacks the charm and wit of Conan Doyle, the suspense of Wilkie Collins or even the ... Read full review

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User Review  - antiquary - LibraryThing

This was a terrific best seller in its day, but frankly I found it a bit disappointing as a mystery. It is still interesting for the 19th century Australian urban setting according to a note in this ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Fergus Hume was born in England in 1859. His family soon immigrated to New Zealand, where Hume qualified as a lawyer. He was admitted to the bar in 1885 and moved to Melbourne in the same year.

Desperate to become a playwright but having no success, Hume decided to write a murder novel instead. When he couldn't find a publisher for The Mystery of a Hansom Cab he published it himself. It was a sensation and sold over twenty thousand copies in Melbourne.

With a hit on his hands, Hume sold his copyright to the Hansom Cab Publishing Company in London for fifty pounds. The book was a phenomenal success but Hume never saw another penny from his bestseller. It may have influenced Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes adventure.

Hume moved back to England in 1888 after the publication of his second novel, Madame Midas. He embarked on a career that produced over 130 novels. He never became a famous playwright but he did co-write the theatrical adaptation of The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, which played in London for five hundred nights. The story was also filmed three times in the silent era.

Fergus Hume died in 1932

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