|Born||Jacques Heath Futrelle|
April 9, 1875
Pike County, Georgia, US
|Died||April 15, 1912 (aged 37)|
North Atlantic Ocean
|Occupation||Mystery writer, journalist|
|Genre||Detective fiction, science fiction|
|Spouse||Lily May Peel (1895–1912) (his death)|
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 use of logic. He died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
Futrelle was born in Pike County, Georgia. He 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 appeared in a serialized version of the short story, "The Problem of Cell 13".
Futrelle left the Boston American in 1906 to write novels. He had a harbor-view house built in Scituate, Massachusetts, which he called "Stepping Stones" and spent most of his time there until his death in 1912. His last work, My Lady's Garter, was published posthumously in 1912. His widow inscribed in the book, "To the heroes of the Titanic, I dedicate this my husband's book", under a photo of him.
In 1895, he married fellow writer Lily May Peel with whom he had two children, Virginia and Jacques "John" Jr.
Returning from Europe aboard the RMS Titanic, Futrelle, a first-class passenger, refused to board a lifeboat, insisting Lily do so instead, to the point of forcing her in. She remembered the last she saw of him: he was smoking a cigarette on deck with John Jacob Astor IV. He perished in the Atlantic and his body was never found. On July 29, 1912, Futrelle's mother, Linnie Futrelle, died in her Georgia home; her death was attributed to grief over her son.
Futrelle is used as the protagonist in Max Allan Collins' disaster series novel The Titanic Murders (1999), about two murders aboard theTitanic.
See Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen and JacquesFutrelle.com for more stories.
In this literary experiment, The Thinking Machine provides a rational solution to the seemingly impossible and supernatural events of a ghost story written by Mrs. Futrelle.