A Coin of Edward VII

A Detective Story

Cover image for


Author: Fergus Hume
Published: 1903
Language: English
Wordcount: 80,360 / 228 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 80.1
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 3,577
Added to site: 2008.07.16
mnybks.net#: 21525
Origin: gutenberg.org

The Philadelphia Item says: "This book is quite up to the level of the high standard which Mr. Hume has set for himself in 'The Mystery of a Hansom Cab' and 'The Rainbow Feather.' It is a brilliant, stirring adventure, showing the author's prodigious inventiveness, his well of imagination never running dry."

Show Excerpt

ttle sweetheart some occasion for jealousy. He resolved to mend his ways and shun the too fascinating society of the enchantress. Shaking off his moody feeling, he came forward to assist Morley. The host was a little man, and could not reach the gifts that hung on the topmost boughs of the tree. Giles being tall and having a long reach of arm, came to his aid.

"That's right, that's right," gasped Morley, his round face red and shining with his exertions, "the best gifts are up here."

"As the best gifts of man are from heaven," put in Mrs. Parry, with her usual tact.

Morley laughed. "Quite so, quite so," he said, careful as was everyone else not to offend the lady, "but on this occasion we can obtain the best gifts. I and Ware and Mrs. Morley have contributed to the tree. The children have their presents, now for the presents of the grown-ups."

By this time the children were gorged with food and distracted by many presents. They were seated everywhere, many on the floor, and the roo


Average Rating of 2.8 from 4 reviews: ***

If you enjoy trying to solve the mystery as you read, I recommend you forget about this one. Even the characters don't know who is who. Twists and coincidences are used liberally to keep the plot moving. The dialog has an overly melodramatic soap opera quality throughout. The romantic interests intrude on the story and soon become extremely annoying. The worst Hume book I have read, very disappointing.


Deliciously complicated! Virtually nobody is who they seem to be (sometimes twice over!)! So many twists and turns it makes Christie's The Mousetrap

Dai Alanye

If a worse mystery from the early twentieth century has been written, I haven't read it. A Coin of Edward VII is replete with unlikely coincidences and overly-melodramatic scenes. It's as if Hume read Nicolas Nickleby and set himself to outdo Dickens tenfold. But Dickens could both write felicitously and invent memorable characters.

Hume's characters babble secrets right and left, and act time after time not only against their own interests but counter to motivation. The plot is not merely excessively involved but extremely unlikely—so much so, in fact, I at one point thought the author intended a clumsy satire.

Example of purple prose: ...with a wild shout both men went down into the furiously bubbling witch-caldron, never to rise again.

Need of editing: ...great changes had taken place in the place

A daughter's inappropriate comment: "I came back in an hour," sobbed Portia, "and found him dead. He looked so handsome as a corpse."

In summary, Coin should be read only by those who have time to waste and the need for laughs. Or should I say, for sneers?

Md. Nazmul Hasan

Unlike some of his extraordinary mysteries this story, disappointingly mediocre and unplausibly plotted, lacks in the innate qualities found in Hume's writings. Entanglement of relationships, convolutions in the plot and competition in romance infused in the story, were ineptly sketched. Specially, poor portrayal of the character of Morley and Olga led me to the accurate guessing of the murderer right at the beginning. Although this book can cause a great deal of excitement for the occasional mystery readers, it certainly fails to fit for experienced mystery readers.

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