Fergus Hume wrote something close to 130 novels in his life, but it seems none had the impact of this one, which sold 100,000 copies in its initial two print runs, then went on to sell more than a million copies internationally.
The fact he was ripped off on the international sales (fifty quid for the rights? And no other cash? Why not?) possibly explains the other 129 novels. But chicanery aside, it’s worth noting how popular the book was on release. Arthur Conan Doyle pooh-poohed it but he probably would, given that it outsold the first Holmes novel. That’s how big this thing was – a veritable blockbuster, and one noted for its importance in illustrating the transition from the sensation novel to crime fiction. Dan Brown can’t claim that. (more…)