(1859-1932) Writer generally thought to have been born in the UK with this name, but who may have been Fergus William Hume (1860-1932), born in New Zealand. Whichever, FH lived in New Zealand and Australia, coming to the UK in 1886 after the success of The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886), and published in the UK about 140 books, mostly detective stories. Some of his work is sf and some fantasy, including The Gentleman who Vanished: A Psychological Phantasy (1892; vt The Man who Vanished 1892 US; vt The Man that Vanished 1892 US), a Supernatural Fiction in which an innocent man is tricked into an Identity Exchange, with the villain escaping as an Astral Body. Aladdin in London (1892) combines Ruritania and shenanigans involving a Ring with Magic properties, in the mode of F Anstey. Chronicles of Faeryland: Fantastic Fables for Old and Young (coll 1892) contains some unremarkable Fairytales. FH's Lost-Race novels include The Harlequin Opal (1893), set in an Aztec lost land, The Nameless City: A Romany Romance (1893), which unusually features a lost land of gypsies, The Expedition of Captain Flick: A Story of Adventure (1896), which more normally features ancient Greeks, and The Mother of Emeralds (1901), concerning an advanced race of Incans living Underground in the Andes. A Son of Perdition: An Occult Romance (1912) opposes black and white magicians in a feud over a young girl. FH was a fast, quite bad writer, but with a capacity to challenge readers' low expectations. [JC]
other works: The Island of Fantasy (1892), a Utopia set in the Mediterranean; When I Lived in Bohemia (1892); The Dwarf's Chamber and Other Stories (coll 1896), including some weird tales; The Golden Wang-Ho (1898; vt The Secret of the Chinese Jar 1928 US), with Arabian-Fantasy elements; The Devil-Stick (1898; vt For the Defense 1898 US), involving Voodoo, as does The Scarlet Bat (1905); The Mystery of the Shadow (1906); The Yellow Hunchback (1907); The Sacred Herb (1908); The Green Mummy (1908); The Solitary Farm (1909); The Spider (1910), a tale of Witchcraft; The Blue Talisman (1912); Mother Mandarin (1912); The Curse (1915).
Fergusson Wright Hume