April 9, 1875|
Pike County, Georgia
|Died||April 15, 1912
Atlantic Ocean, aboard the RMS Titanic
|Occupation||Mystery writer, journalist|
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. On 29 July 1912 his mother, Linnie Futrelle, died in her Georgia home; her death was attributed to grief over her son's death.
In popular culture
- Futrelle is used as the protagonist in The Titanic Murders, a novel about two murders aboard the Titanic, by Max Allan Collins.
- The Chase of the Golden Plate (1906)
- The Simple Case of Susan (1908)
- The Diamond Master (1909 — later adapted into the film serials The Diamond Queen (1921) and The Diamond Master (1929)
- Elusive Isabel (1909)
- The High Hand (1911)
- My Lady's Garter (1912)
- Blind Man's Bluff (1914)
Short story collections
- The Thinking Machine (1907),
- The Flaming Phantom
- The Great Auto Mystery
- The Man Who Was Lost
- The Mystery of a Studio
- The Problem of Cell 13 (1918); a reprint of The Thinking Machine (1907)
- The Ralston Bank Burglary
- The Scarlet Thread
- The Thinking Machine on the Case (1908), UK title The Professor on the Case
- The Stolen Reubens
- "The Problem of Cell 13" (1905)
- "The House That Was" (a literary experiment with his wife, in the which The Thinking Machine provided a rational solution to the seemingly impossible and supernatural events of a ghost story written by May) (online)
- "The Phantom Motor"
- Various other short stories (see Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen for more)
- "Futrelle Refused to Enter Lifeboat". The New York Times. 19 April 1912: 6.
- "Futrelle's Mother is Dead". The New York Times. 30 July 1912: 1.
- "Jacques Futrelle". Contemporary Authors. 2000. Gale Group Databases. 1 August 2003 <http://www.infotrac.galegroup.com>.
- "Says Ismay Ruled in Titanic's Boats." The New York Times. 26 June 1915: 6.
- Donald E. Wilkes Jr, Georgians Died on Titanic
- On the Titanic: Jacques Futrelle
- May Futrelle Survived Titanic (1994).
- Jacques Futrelle Official Homepage
- Entry at Encyclopedia Titanica
- Works by Jacques Futrelle at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Jacques Futrelle at Internet Archive
- Works by Jacques Futrelle at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Jacques Futrelle at the Internet Movie Database