One summer evening, Rupert Hendle, Squire of the English village of Barship, is visited by the Vicar, the Reverend Leigh. The clergyman has some terrible news to impart - during his researches into local history, he has uncovered an old will that disinherits the present Squire in favour of Rupert's misanthropic cousin, Mallien. But just as Rupert resigns himself to losing everything, the Vicar is found murdered in his study - and with the will missing, the Squire is the prime suspect...

Author

Fergus Hume

Fergus Hume (1859-1932) Ferguson Wright Hume was born in England. At the age of three his father emigrated with his family to New Zealand. He attended high school in Dunedin and studied law at the University of Otago. Shortly after graduation he left for Melbourne where he obtained a post as a barrister's clerk. After failed attempts to become a playwright, he decided to write a novel instead. Not knowing what to write: "I enquired of a leading Melbourne bookseller what style of book he sold most of He replied that the detective stories of Gaboriau had a large sale; and as, at this time, I had never even heard of this author, I bought all his works - eleven or thereabouts - and read them carefully. The style of these stories attracted me, and I determined to write a book of the same class; containing a mystery, a murder, and a description of low life in Melbourne." The result was The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, which became a great success after he self-published. After the success of his first novel, Hume returned to England. He resided in London for few years and then he moved to the Essex countryside where he lived in Thundersley for thirty years. 

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