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The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab

by Fergus Hume

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
When a hansom cab driver picks up a drunk man and his friend, it seems like an ordinary fare. Until the friend gets out and gives the cabman directions to the drunk man's address. After arriving at his destination, the cabman discovers that the drunk man has been murdered. The crime leaves all of Melbourne in an uproar but the resolution of the mystery may be even more scandalous than the crime itself.

I'm not quite sure how this book ended up on The List. It's an average mystery for its time period (first published in 1887) with the unique element of being set in Australia, rather than the London I had anticipated from the title. While the mystery is not terribly executed, the suspense is bungled a bit, and the lack of a central character with whom the reader can solve the mystery makes the book slightly less effective. Worth reading if you're interested in the development of the mystery novel during its nascent period. ( )
  MickyFine | Sep 16, 2014 |
Interesting story for the time and the setting. Small group of suspects and an ending that kept you guessing to the end, but not as much detection as there could have been. The ending was somewhat telegraphed by the character's actions. ( )
  JeffreyMarks | Jul 11, 2013 |
Though not as well-known to modern readers, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab has much in common with Bram Stoker's Dracula. Both centre on an intriguing mystery, both were hugely popular with 19th century audiences and, alas, neither is particularly well-written. Unfortunately, Hansom Cab has also not dated very well, with its talk of 'brain fever', long-forgotten writers and frequent musings on women as feeble-minded and inscrutable creatures. Modern readers may also be frustrated by Hume's verbosity; his tendency to float away from the novel's main thread, which is actually a rather interesting whodunnit. ( )
  whirled | Oct 29, 2012 |
Well-plotted, well-paced crime novel set in Melbourne in the 1880s. An accessible read with lots to offer 21st century readers. For my full review, please see Whispering Gums: http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/fergus-w-hume-the-mystery-of-a-ha... ( )
  minerva2607 | Jan 30, 2012 |
A man with no identification is found murdered in a hansom cab in 19th century Melbourne, Australia. There is a mysterious man in a trench coat with his hat pulled down, some mysterious "important papers," a witness that cannot be located easily, and some visits to the slums. With a couple of detectives and a lawyer investigating, this one is full of twists that will keep readers second guessing the identity of the murderer until the end. Many people have compared this book with some of Sherlock Holmes books. I certainly can see the comparison, but I also see some resemblance to some of Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason mysteries as well. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the mystery. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jan 2, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fergus Humeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caterson, SimonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
From the book cover:

In the dead of night, on a dark, lonely street in Melbourne, a cabby discovers to his horror that his drunken passenger has been murdered--poisoned with a chloroform-saturated handkerchief. The perpetrator, his motive, even the identity of the victim are all unknown. The last man to be seen in the victim's company cannot be identified and has vanished into the streets of Australia's metropolis. A pretty puzzle for police detective Samuel Gorby.

But Gorby is not destined to solve this bizarre crime. The man who finally does must thread a labyrinth of dark secrets, missing papers, evasive witnesses, a clandestine marriage--and a deadly game of blackmail.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486219569, Paperback)

A splash of chloroform . . .

The drunken man was staggering -- but he was quite alive, when the thoughtful gentleman stumbled upon him in the thick Melbourne night, and hailed a cab to take him home.

By the time the cabdriver was in the proper neighborhood and was turning around to ask directions, the cabbie discovered he was driving around an unconscious man . . . slumped forward with a chemical-soaked handkerchief tied around his mouth! Unconscious -- or dead!

New Zealand lawyer and writer Fergus Hume achieved immediate, widespread attention for his first novel, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, when it first appeared in 1886. This remarkable novel, when published in England, became more the talk of London than even Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, issued soon thereafter. Hume's other detective novels included The Opal Serpent and The Silent House.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Summary: The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, first published in 1886, is Australia's original international best-selling crime novel. Set in the charming and deadly streets of Melbourne, this vivid and brilliantly plotted murder thriller tells the story of a crime committed by an unknown assassin. With its panoramic depiction of a bustling yet uneasy city, Hansom Cab has a central place in Australian literature.… (more)

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Average: (3.37)
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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1920885374, 1921922222, 1922079537

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