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.
Barrister Ned Shepworth faces the most difficult trial of his career when he is forced to defend his own fiancee, Mona Chent, from an accusation of murdering her uncle in cold blood. A second murder clears Mona from suspicion - but makes Ned himself the prime suspect! Luckily for Ned, his friend, the erstwhile explorer Lord Prelice, is on hand to investigate the case. But who really murdered Sir Oliver Lanwin in the study of his country home? And can the answer really lie in the mysterious traditions of the native tribes of Easter Island?