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HUME, Fergus W.

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.

A Startling and Realistic Story of Melbourne Social Life.

London: The Hansom Cab Publishing Company, 1888 Stock Code: 126192
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Extremely rare presentation copy

First UK edition. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author to the prolific dime novel author William J. Benners (1863-1940) on the half-title: "To Will J. Benners with best wishes Fergus Hume". Inscribed copies of Hume's works are extremely rare. This copy was later part of the library of Florence & Edward Kaye, both leading collectors of detective fiction, with their bookplate to the chemise interior. The novel, one of the greatest and most successful of all detective stories, had met with enormous enthusiasm when first published in Australia in 1886. The author foolishly sold the copyright for a paltry sum to the businessman Frederick Trischler, who travelled to London and founded The Hansom Cab Publishing Company in 1887. Hundreds of thousands of copies were sold by the end of the century, reprinting from the first edition plates. This is one of these later impressions, with 401st thousand on the title page.

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Octavo. Original printed wrappers. Housed in a custom red cloth chemise within red half morocco box, spine lettered in gilt, red cloth sides.


Spine chipped, crease with splits to front cover, light running crease to pages, short closed tear and chip to corner of p. 159 without loss to text, tears to p. 175 without loss to paper. Still a very good copy of this fragile book.


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