Jacques Futrelle

Jacques Futrelle books and biography


Jacques Futrelle

Jacques Heath Futrelle (April 9, 1875 - April 15, 1912), born in Pike County, Georgia, was an American writer. He is best known for writing short mystery stories featuring the "Thinking Machine", Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen.

Jacques Futrelle
Jacques Futrelle



A newspaperman, Futrelle 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.

Staying with the Boston American until 1906, Futrelle left the newspaper business to focus his attention on writing novels. He had a house built in Scituate, Massachusetts, which he called "Stepping Stones", spending most of his time there until his untimely 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, according to his wife, with the belief that her boarding would give him a better chance of surviving; he perished in the Atlantic. On 29 July 1912 his mother, Linnie Futrelle, died in her Georgia home; her death was attributed to grief over her son's death.

Futrelle is used as the protagonist in The Titanic Murders, a novel about two murders aboard the Titanic, by Max Allan Collins.

Selected works


  • The Chase of the Golden Plate (1906)
  • The Simple Case of Susan (1908)
  • The Thinking Machine on the Case (1908)
  • The Diamond Master (1909)
  • Elusive Isabel (1909)
  • The High Hand (1911)
  • My Lady's Garter (1912)
  • Blind Man's Bluff (1914)


  • "The House That Was" (a literary experiment with his wife, in which The Thinking Machine provided a rational solution to the seemingly impossible and supernatural events of a ghost story written by May)
  • "The Phantom Motor"
  • "The Problem of Cell 13" (1907)
  • Various other short stories (see Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen for more)


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

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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