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The Mystery of a Hansom Cab

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab: tie-in edition

Text Classics

Fergus Hume

Fergus Hume’s sensational novel The Mystery of a Hansom Cab is Australia’s original blockbuster and international best-selling crime novel. 

First published in 1886, it was an overnight sensation, selling hundreds of thousands of copies around the world and being translated into eleven languages. Over a century later, Hansom Cab has lost none of its page-turning power.

Set in the charming and deadly streets of Melbourne, this 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 literary history. 

Hansom Cab has been adapted for television and screened on ABCTV in October 2012. It is directed by Shawn Seet (Underbelly, All Saints, The Secret Life of Us) and stars Shane Jacobson, Anna McGahan, Helen Morse, Oliver Ackland and John Waters.

Other links:
Burberry Entertainment
Museum Victoria on re-imagining ‘marvellous Melbourne’ for the telemovie
ABC Radio National Book Club

Fergus Hume
About the Author

Fergus Hume was born in England in 1859. He grew up in New Zealand, where he became a lawyer. In 1885 he emigrated to Melbourne, the city in which he wrote and set The Mystery of a Hansom Cab. In 1888 he settled in England and embarked on a literary career which produced over 130 novels. He died in 1932.

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Text publication date:
26 April 2012
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Praise for Fergus Hume
andThe Mystery of a Hansom Cab

‘One of the hundred best crime novels of all time.' 

‘Well written and immensely readable.’

‘An absolute ripper. A plot full of astonishing twists and turns, and brilliant evocation of 19th-Century Melbourne that captures its charm, bustle and rawness.’

‘A splendidly romantic melodrama, full of period charm, and Victorian sentiment…The Mystery of a Hansom Cab is not only a classic but hugely enjoyable as well.’

‘Fiendishly cunning.’

‘A highly readable and clever mystery, as well as a fascinating description of the minutiae of life in Victorian Melbourne. Hume wanted to write a book, “containing a mystery, a murder, and a description of low life in Melbourne.” He did pay tribute to the works of the French mystery writer Emile Gaboriau and his earlier Monsieur Lecoq novels, but many would argue that Hume’s plotting is tighter than his French counterpart and his mystery a tougher one to solve.’

Other editions ofThe Mystery of a Hansom Cab
Other Titles byFergus Hume