The Opal Serpent

Cover image for


Author: Fergus Hume
Published: 1905
Language: English
Wordcount: 90,053 / 257 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 87.2
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,362
Added to site: 2008.03.07 20249

The mystery which this story is to solve is the identification of the stranglers of an old pawnbroker, who is found with his lips pinned together by a brooch of opals in the design of a serpent. The pawnbroker has a beautiful daughter, who is a character in the story. In trying to solve the mystery the detectives encounter many complications.

Show Excerpt

f Steerforth and David Copperfield," was Paul's reply as he pushed back his plate; "you were my hero, and I was your slave. But the other boys--" He looked again.

"They hated me, because they did not understand me, as you did."

"If that is so, Grexon, why did you let me slip out of your life? It is ten years since we parted. I was fifteen and you twenty."

"Which now makes us twenty-five and thirty respectively," said Hay, dryly; "you left school before I did."

"Yes; I had scarlet fever, and was taken home to be nursed. I never went back, and since then I have never met an old Torrington boy--"

"Have you not?" asked Hay, eagerly.

"No. My parents took me abroad, and I sampled a German university. I returned to idle about my father's place, till I grew sick of doing nothing, and, having ambitions, I came to try my luck in town." He looked round and laughed. "You see my luck."

"Well," said Hay, lighting a dainty cigarette produced from a gold case, "my uncle, who d


Average Rating of 3.3 from 3 reviews: ****

Hume at his most annoying! Perhaps the victorians liked it, but the absurd drawing of one of the characters (Debby) got so irritating I almost abandoned the book. Good plot but nearly ruined by this characterisation. Very un-Hume-like!!


Great story that kept me going till the end. I will read more from Fergus Hume.


This is a fantastic detective story. I bet you will keep on guessing who is the guilty till a few last chapters. The story and circumstances were cleverly set up by the author and they would point the finger at different characters in different times. Absolutely enjoyable plot. I also liked the climax at the very beginning of the story when the antagonist parted from his parents.

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