The Mystery of a Hansom Cab - Fergus Hume Podcast: So Many Mysteries ...
Welcome to The Mystery of a Hansom Cab Fergus Hume podcast episode (two of two) focused on the myriad mysteries in Fergus Hume’s literary sensation!
The Mystery of a Hansom Cab sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide upon publication. Set in the charming and deadly streets of Melbourne, this thriller highlights class and social issues as a crime is committed by an unknown assassin.
Estimated Reading Time: 5 hours. Share your thoughts and check out the questions below!
What We're Talking About in our Mystery of a Hansom Cab Fergus Hume podcast episode (part 2 of 2) --
Oh, we have a lot to talk about. Here’s a sampler …
The Land of Opportunity — Mark Frettlby came to Australia “determined to become a rich man.” Brian Fitzgerald “had that extraordinary vivacious Irish temperament, which enables a man to put all trouble behind his back, and thoroughly enjoy the present.” What were their lives like back in England and Ireland, and how did they become wealthy in Australia?
The Class System — The novel points out the differences between fashionable Melbourne (including the Frettlbys), men of few means (Oliver Whyte and Roger Moreland), the working class (the hansom cab driver, the landlady, and Sal Rawlins), and “guttersnipes” (scruffy, badly behaved street urchins like Mother Guttersnipe). How did the narrator and characters feel about these class distinctions? How did you feel about them?
Legitimacy — Frettlby was married to Rosanna, and Sal was conceived in wedlock. Madge is Frettlby’s illegitimate daughter. How did this turn of events strike you, and what do you think about the lengths people go to protect Frettlby’s “good name”?
Fate — Men discovered the deity Nemesis wasn’t “altogether useless as a scapegoat upon which to lay the blame of their own shortcomings, so they created a new deity called Fate and laid any misfortune which happened to them to her charge. Her worship is still very popular, especially among lazy and unlucky people, who never bestir themselves on the ground that … their lives are already settled by Fate.” Thoughts?
Plot Holes — Was Frettlby ever going to tell his father that he married Rosanna and had a child? Why didn’t Rosanna tell her mother she was married? Why did Rosanna allow Frettlby to believe she and their child were dead, and why didn’t he confirm these stories? Why did Moreland wait so long to start blackmailing Frettlby?
The Author’s Take on Women — Women love to shop for things they don’t want or need. Men can’t possibly understand women. Women prattle on and draw upon feminine instincts instead of reason. Women often suffer from brain fever caused by mental strain. Women’s highly strung nerves are the reason they age faster than men. How did these comments make you feel?
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