On a snowy December night, shortly after Christmas, the inhabitants of Chadston village are gathered in the Hall to enjoy a display of animated pictures. All, that is, except Alice Marvel, who is startled by an unexpected visitor - her old friend the dwarf Evan Berrow, who has come to renew his proposal of marriage. Already engaged to the handsome Rupert Treffry, Alice rejects the proposal. Later that evening, however, venturing into the snow to meet her father, Alice is stunned by a grisly discovery - Evan's dead body, lying in a winding sheet of snow... 

Faced with the possibility that her lover may be hanged for the crime, Alice undertakes to discover the murderer. The reading of Evan's will seems to offer several possible motives and no shortage of suspects including the crocked solicitor, Mason Clyde; Evan's selfish stepmother; the sinister nurse-companion, Cleopatra; and Evan's Amazonian aunt, Miss Tudor-Stuart. The key to the mystery seems to lie, however, with Evan's cousin - the yellow-clad hunchback, Ben Berrow. 

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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