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Madame Midas by Fergus Hume
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Madame Midas (edition 2008)

by Fergus Hume

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303367,255 (3.13)1
Member:devenish
Title:Madame Midas
Authors:Fergus Hume
Info:Bibliobazaar (2007) Paperback,300 Pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Crime & Mystery Fiction, Australian Crime Fiction, Australian Fiction, Bibliobazaar, Heffers, Review

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Madame Midas by Fergus Hume

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Two men,escapees from a penal colony,adrift in a small boat,cast up on a strange and alien coast. Thus begins this tale of greed and murder in the days of the Australian gold-rush.
The Madam Midas of the title is a strong-minded woman who is determined to discover a rich mine of gold and to become independent of her neer-do-well husband. On to the scene comes the charming and handsome,but evil.Gaston Vandeloup. Soon the legendary 'Devil's Lead' yields up it's secrets and Madam becomes a very rich woman indeed. Vandeloup promises to marry a young and innocent girl and they run off together. Instead of marriage Vandeloup persuades the girl into becoming his mistress,but leaves her and attempts to marry Madam.
Melodramatic,yes,but written with great power,which only goes overboard in the last few pages.A very enjoyable read. ( )
  devenish | Dec 19, 2012 |
Growing up around Ballarat not quite as long ago as MADAME MIDAS is set, it was really amazing to see how much of the layout of the city remains and how many of the locations are easily identifiable. Which probably meant that I ended up reading this book paying a lot more attention to the setting than I did to the plot.

That's not to say that MADAME MIDAS doesn't have a plot that isn't bad, what with a caddish Frenchman trying to have their way with the charming, intelligent and very wealthy Madame Midas. Given that it was first published in 1888, it's probably no surprise that for all her charm, brains and money somehow Madame Midas is still a woman that seems to rely a lot on the protection of well meaning men around her. When she's not attracting ne'er-do-well husbands and dodgy bookkeepers. But leeway needs to be given as this is very much a book of it's time, even though for a central character, somehow Madame Midas is strangely incidental, slightly off-key perhaps.

But as I said, a lot of the attraction of this book is Goldfields Victoria, Ballarat in particular. Hume is writing about a time in Victoria which was pivotal in the formation of our current lifestyle, and he provides some fascinating glimpses into both the hardships and the luxuries of those early days of white settlement. I won't pretend that I wasn't feeling very inadequate at times as I realised the distances, and not inconsequential hills, many of the characters walked up and down in surprising time, and frequency. I was halfway through reading the book when I found myself heading up Lydiard Street towards Black Hill at roughly the same time of year as the book is set, and I was astonished at how rapidly women, in particular - in all that 1880's regalia - toiled up and down the hill in the middle of summer. At that time of the year, even at a much younger age, I struggle to make it from Sturt Street to Seymour Street, let alone all the way up to Black Hill.

Seriously though, it's a privilege to be able to read something from that time that's extremely accessible, enlightening and still entertaining.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/madame-midas-fergus-hume ( )
  austcrimefiction | Jul 30, 2012 |
Fergus Hume's Madame Midas is nowhere near the book that the famous Mystery of a Hansom Cab is. It is a pretty mundane story, without the various interesting characters and situations that happen in the latter. Definitely check the other book out first, or try something else.

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/4946

http://freesf.blogspot.com/2006/12/madame-midas-fergus-hume.html ( )
  bluetyson | Dec 4, 2006 |
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Trade edition paperback, vg++

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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