A murder in the quiet English village of Chippingholt is only the first in a series of trials that will shape the lives of Brenda Scarse and her lover Harold Burton. Who is the mysterious stranger, so closely resembling Brenda's father, who was seen near the scene of the crime? And why does the dead man's widow seem so unconcerned?

As Britain prepares to go to war in South Africa, it soon becomes apparent that this is no purely parochial affair - that the solution to the mystery is to be found in a web of political intrigue, and fraught national allegiances... 

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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