'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vintage Author Day!


Fergus Hume was a prolific English author, having written more than 100 novels and short stories at his death. His father, Glaswegian Dr. James Hume, moved the family to New Zealand when Fergus was 3 years old. Fergus studied law and was admitted to the New Zealand bar in 1885. Shortly after he moved to Melbourne Australia where he took a job as a barrister's clerk and began writing plays. Not being able to sell a play he turned to novels.

He asked a leading bookseller what type of stories sold the most and was told detective stories, specifically those of Emile Gaboriau. So he promptly bought all 11 of the novels by Gaboriau, read them and determined to write the same type of book. The Mystery of the Hansom Cab was his first novel, self-published. It was a great success. Fast becoming the best selling mystery novel of the Victorian era. It is said this novel inspired Arthur Conan Doyle to write A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes novel.

After the publication of his second novel, Professor Brankel's Secret, Hume moved back to England in 1888. Living in London for a few years and then moving to the countryside, where he lived in Thundersley for 30 yrs. until his death in 1932.

Not much is known about his personal life. No mention of a wife or children. His obituary stated that he was a very religious man and did a lot of lecturing to young people's clubs and debate societies in his later years. He passed shortly after finishing The Last Straw, (how appropriate!) which is extremely rare to come by now.                      
source: Wikipedia

There were 3 movie adaptions done of The Mystery of the Hansom Cab, a play, a BBC serial and one made for television movie. 

Many of his works are available for free in ebook.
Project Gutenberg

You can see a bibliography of his works here. Several of his books are available to read online at this site. You can also access many of his books to read online here.

Online Literature has a nice biography of Fergus Hume.

Book covers:

Peggy Ann


  1. Very nice post, Peggy. I love all the old book covers. They make me want to grab one and read it right now! I think I read The Mystery of a Hansom Cab years ago, but I didn't fill out one of the little summary cards for my file. Maybe I didn't read it. So, there's a mystery! I have downloaded some of his books from Many Books for Kindle, another great source for free, out-of-copyright books.

  2. You do find the most interesting old fashioned books! They are fun to read!

    1. I love old books Patty, I'm addicted to them! It's like finding a treasure!

  3. This is such a great post, Peggy. I am sure I have heard of this author, but knew little about him. Thanks for featuring this author.

    1. It's fun for me, Tracy when I come across these so I like to share!


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