Fergus Hume

Fergus Hume was an English lawyer and prolific author who spent a number of years in New Zealand and Australia where he began his career of more than thirty years writing detective stories, including his first novel and international best-seller The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886).

Fergusson (Fergus) Wright Hume was born 8 July 1859 at Powick, Worcestershire but by 1885 was working as a solicitor’s clerk in Melbourne, Australia. It was at this time that he became bent on becoming a dramatist; but having only written a few short stories he was a virtual unknown. So as to gain the attentions of the theatre directors he asked a local bookseller what style of book he sold most. Emile Gaboriau’s detective works were very popular and so Hume bought them all and studied them intently, thus turning his pen to writing his own style of crime novel and mystery. The result was The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, the publishing rights to which he sold for just £50, but still retained the dramatic rights from which he soon profited following long Australian and London theatre runs.

Hume returned to the UK and except for short trips to France, Switzerland and Italy, in 1888 Hume settled and stayed in Essex, where he died of cardiac failure at his home Rosemary in Grove Road, Thundersley on 11th July 1932.

Books by Fergus Hume
The Mystery of a Hansom Cab