Jacques Futrelle

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Jacques Futrelle
Jacques Futrelle.JPG
Born (1875-04-09)April 9, 1875
Pike County, Georgia
Died April 15, 1912(1912-04-15) (aged 37)
RMS Titanic Atlantic Ocean
Occupation Mystery writer, journalist
Nationality American
Period 1905–1912
Genre Detective fiction

Jacques Heath Futrelle (April 9, 1875 – April 15, 1912) was an American journalist and mystery writer. He is best known for writing short detective stories featuring Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, also known as "The Thinking Machine" for his application of logic to any and all situations. Futrelle died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic.


Futrelle, who was born in Pike County, Georgia, worked for the Atlanta Journal, where he began their sports section; the New York Herald; the Boston Post; and the Boston American, where, in 1905, his Thinking Machine character first appeared in a serialized version of "The Problem of Cell 13". In 1895, he married fellow writer Lily May Peel, with whom he had two children, Virginia and Jacques "John" Jr.

Futrelle left the Boston American in 1906 to focus his attention on writing novels. He had a house built in Scituate, Massachusetts, which he called "Stepping Stones", and spent most of his time there until his death in 1912.

Returning from Europe aboard the RMS Titanic, Futrelle, a first-cabin passenger, refused to board a lifeboat, insisting his wife board instead, to the point of forcing her in. His wife remembered the last she saw of him: he was smoking a cigarette on deck with John Jacob Astor IV. Futrelle perished in the Atlantic, and his body was never found. His last work, My Lady's Garter, was published posthumously in 1912. His wife inscribed in the book, "To the heroes of the Titanic, I dedicate this my husband's book", under a photo of her late husband.[citation needed] On 29 July 1912 Futrelle's mother, Linnie Futrelle, died in her Georgia home; her death was attributed to grief over her son's death.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

Selected works[edit]


Short story collections[edit]



  1. ^ "The House That Was". futrelle.com/stories/GrinningGod.html (online ed.). 


  • "Futrelle Refused to Enter Lifeboat". The New York Times. April 19, 1912. p. 6. 
  • "Futrelle's Mother is Dead". The New York Times. July 30, 1912. p. 1. 
  • "Jacques Futrelle". Contemporary Authors (Infotrac,Gale Group Databases). 2000. Retrieved August 1, 2003. 
  • "Says Ismay Ruled in Titanic's Boats". The New York Times. June 26, 1915. p. 6. 

Further reading[edit]

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