Also writes as: Stephen Grail
Born: Established: 8 Jul 1859
Fergus Hume was born in England but grew up in New Zealand, where he was educated at the Otago Boys' High School and the University of Otago. Admitted to the New Zealand Bar in 1885, he moved across the Tasman Sea to Melbourne in the same year with the intention of practising law in Australia. He began writing plays with limited success. His novel The Mystery of a Hansom Cab met with world-wide success but, having sold the rights to London speculators for a meagre fifity pounds, Hume made little financial gain. More than half a million copies of the book were sold during his lifetime.
In 1888, Hume left Australia for England and wrote Madame Midas during his voyage. He settled in England and went on to write over 130 novels, becoming one of the first writers to work in the mystery genre. Of the many publications by Fergus Hume not listed in AustLit, the following have minor Australian associations: The Expedition of Captain Flick (1895), A Woman's Burden (1900), The White Room (1904), The Disappearing Eye (1909), Mother Mandarin (1912), Seen in the Shadow (1913), and The Dark Avenue (1920). Several novels by Hume were serialised in Australian newspapers and periodicals.
Only Fergus Hume's works with Australian subjects and settings are included in AustLit. However, although written after Hume's departure from Australia in 1888, The Crowned Skull (London: Laurie, 1908) is included in AustLit because it has been published in an Australian science fiction series.