Fergus Hume’s “The Mystery Queen” was one of the most popular mystery novels of the early 20th century and played a significant role in establishing the genre of detective fiction. The novel was first published in the United Kingdom in 1902 and was an instant success, leading to multiple adaptations for the stage and screen.
One of the reasons for the novel’s popularity is its gripping and intricate plot, which is filled with red herrings, surprising twists, and unexpected revelations. Hume was a master of the “locked room” mystery, in which a murder occurs in a seemingly impossible situation, and “The Mystery Queen” is a perfect example of this type of puzzle mystery.
In addition to its well-crafted plot, the novel also stands out for its characters. Maud Dudgeon, the titular “Mystery Queen,” is a fascinating and complex character who defies the conventions of her time. She is intelligent, independent, and determined to solve the murder, despite the resistance of the police and the social expectations placed on her as a young woman.
Jack Rutherford, the young man who becomes Maud’s ally in the investigation, is also an intriguing character. He is handsome and charming, but also has a dark past that makes him a suspect in the murder. The relationship that develops between Maud and Jack is one of the highlights of the novel, as they work together to unravel the mystery and gradually fall in love.
“The Mystery Queen” is also notable for its evocative descriptions of the English countryside, where the novel is set. Hume was a master of atmospheric writing, and his descriptions of the landscape, the architecture, and the weather add to the overall mood of the novel.
In conclusion, “The Mystery Queen” is a classic mystery novel that deserves to be remembered as one of the great works of detective fiction. Fergus Hume’s skillful plotting, engaging characters, and vivid writing make the novel a must-read for anyone who loves a good mystery.