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.
The Piccadilly Puzzle revolves around the mysterious murder of a woman on a foggy night in a major London thoroughfare. The woman, initially thought to be a “streetwalker” is soon identified as a certain Miss Sarschine, the mistress of a prominent Lord who has just eloped to the Azores on his private yacht with another Lord’s wife. The dead woman was not strangled or stabbed but, rather, poisoned — the poison apparently being one of those convenient tropical toxins utterly unknown to Western science. The London Police engage Dowker, a private detective to investigate. Will Dowker find the depraved killer?