The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu

The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu[KINDLE] ❁ The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu ❄ Sax Rohmer – Being a Somewhat Detailed Account of the Amazing Adventures of Nayland Smith in His Trailing of the Sinister Chinaman The Insidious Dr Fu Manchu is the first title in the famous series of Yellow Peril Being a of Dr. ePUB ´ Somewhat Detailed Account of the Amazing Adventures of Nayland Smith in His Trailing of the Sinister Chinaman The Insidious Dr Fu Manchu is the first title in the famous series of Yellow Peril novels published by English writer Sax Rohmer aka Henry Sarsfield Ward – between and The Mystery PDF \ The novel like its many seuels pits the evil genius of the Far East against the British Duo Denis Nayland Smith and his sidekick Dr Petrie. I like this book but I feel a little guilty about it It's not just that it is permeated with orientalist attitudes but that it makes those attitudes seem less uaint and sinister because they are reinforced here by blatant racism It is bad enough that the villain embodies the malevolent cunning of The Inscrutable East but it is much worse when the hero is repeatedly described as the savior of the white raceTo appreciate the book as I do even if you feel guilty about it it is helpful to realize that part of its inspiration lay in certain contemporary events in China that shook the confidence of the Western mind in much the same way that 911 would one hundred years later Unrest in the Far East intensified by the Boxer Rebellion in 1899 and culminating in the collapse of the last imperial dynasty in the revolution of 1911 made the colonizing nations keenly aware of the vast size and instability of China Many Englishmen and Americans feared that this Yellow Peril would soon overwhelm the West by numbers alone If Rohmer was a sinophobe his sinophobia was casual and calculated; his love for the legends of Egypt Arabia and India however was constant and sincere Essentially an entertainer he began his literary career as a writer of music hall sketches and songs Rohmer needed a Chinese super villain a sort of racist Bin Laden to make a pan Asian conspiracy credible not for the promotion of any political agenda but simply to revive in the jaded reader of pulp fiction the potential for fear and terror dormant in this exotic but already familiar lore One of the particular advantages of a Chinese villain is that it enables Rohmer to transform prosaic London by evoking the dark romance of great rivers Fu Manchu is never far from the opium dens and criminal dives of the Chinese dockside community of Limehouse for it is there on the Thames that the Doctor takes up his residence as he schemes and consigns the meddling agents of English law to a watery grave Rohmer freuently makes allusions to the Nile and the Tigris and Euphrates thus associating contemporary London with the curses of the pharaohs and the marvels of medieval BaghdadFu Manchu is central to this project but the character of Koramaneh also plays a crucial role A beautiful Arab girl sold as a slave to Fu Manchu she must do the doctor's bidding but she is nonetheless in love with Petrie the Watson of these adventures and continually saves him from danger Her ambivalence creates an ambivalence in the reader attracting the reader to the exotic East even as Fu Manchu repels himRohmer the musical hall writer effectively performs his show biz tricks and holds us captive in his fantastic sinister world I suspect much of the credit for this lies with Koramaneh rivers may entrance us with journey and mystery but beauty ensures our seduction The most brilliant criminal mind to have existed in generations is how our Asian Moriarty is breathlessly described in this shameless Sherlock Holmes ripoff featuring a doctor sidekick narrating an adventure in which the protagonist is his brilliant detectiveish friend The problem with hyperbole is that you have to back it up Conan Doyle is great at this There's this fine line you want to leave the reader unable usually to solve the mystery but when you do the big reveal at the end you want the reader not to feel cheated I have to think I didn't get that but I could have I almost did It makes sense Conan Doyle pioneered that as far as I know Don't bring up Dupin Holmes owes that guy but not for this Poe sucked at this Murders at the Rue Morgue spoiler view spoilerThe fuckin' orangutan did it is not a good reveal hide spoiler To a student a literature there are classics of older times for which allowances that must be made to understand the cultural in which they were writtenAnd then there's The Insidious Dr Fu ManchuThe story is simple enough Knock off Sherlock Holmes henceforth KOSH returns from Asia informing Knock Off of Doctor Watson henceforth KODW of the threat of Well he doesn't really say honestly KOSH just pulls KODW through an entire adventure occasionally mentioning someone named Fu Manchu without explaining who that person is or what they want Honestly the book makes an eual amount of sense at this point if you replace every occurrence of Fu Manchu with Mr Potato HeadEventually we learn that Fu Manchu is a nefarious Chinese covert agent working for a secret Chinese council to further his country's interests With his army of assassins masters of strange science and expertise in poisons Fu Manchu plans to help China rise high on the global stageThis underscores an important point Fu Manchu is by far the most sympathetic interesting and likable character in this book He's the Chinese James Bond or Nick Fury committing plans with style and panache often sparing his enemies' lives and generally making me wish he'd murder the Baker Street knock off duoOf course the reader is supposed to find Fu Manchu horrifying because the Chinese people are Sax Rohmer constantly reminds us an evil subhuman race of unimaginable cruelty and inscrutable motivesI've read Lovecraft and the Tarzan novels and this is one of the most racist things I've ever read Like describing Chinese people with terms like 'chattering' 'simian' and 'yellow paws' racist KODW spends a good chunk of a chapter informing us of how the Chinese in Hawaii are buying scorpions to murder their infant girls with plausible deniability remarking that only the Chinese have a character capable of producing a Fu ManchuEvery Chinese person in the book is obviously enough an agent of Fu Manchu Aside from the man himself only one of them speaks; I didn't understand any his dialogue until I realized I had to read the l's as r'sThis is the core of the book which never fails to remind us that the central conflict is White vs Yellow Other nonwhites don't come out so good either Rohmer fills a mansion murder scheme with a surprising diversity only to proceed to generate a singularity of stereotypes and we come to the Egyptian love interestShe's exotic beautiful courageous and KODW apologizes to his reader at the disgust they must have for his attraction to her as the very idea of a white man loving an Asian is to him stomach turning KOSH offers sound relationship advice It's like Cyrano only the best friend is suggesting the girl in uestion would uite like being dragged by her hair into a cellar and threatened with a whip Because AsiansShe doesn't disabuse the notion basically saying Lock me up and I'll tell you everything You wanna beat me? The romantic dynamic between our protagonist and the femme fatale makes Fifty Shades of Grey look like a gender studies textbookSo there's my conumdrum There are thrills and mysteries in here that I really liked escapades and traps world building and wonders and they are awesome When Fu Manchu needs to eliminate an enemy of Chinese ambition they are dealt with in ways that perfectly blend pulp and mystery I was cheering and the ingenuity of several and there's a kidnapping attempt so brilliant that I want to throw it into my role playing gamesAnd then there's Fu Manchu himselfImagine a person tall lean and feline high shouldered with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan a close shaven skull and long magnetic eyes of the true cat greenSo surprisingly no mustache Like the Holmesian deerstalker that was added in the filmsFu Manchu is such a magnificent bastard I can't help but love him Once our putative heroes stand on a dock watching a ship sailing into the distance as a sign of their defeat in that particular case KOSH immediately hears Fu's voice at his ear say Another victory for China Mister Knock off Sherlock HolmesDid you catch that? The mastermind secret agent takes time out of his busy day to perform the 1904 espionage community euivalent of tea baggingIt is a thing of beauty to watch Fu Manchu in action My favorite is from later in the book where he lays down on a couch surrounded by trapdoors and either pretends or actually does smoke a bowl of opium waiting for our heroes to rush him like racist Wile E CoyotesAll this joy is constantly punctuated by the narrator's reminder that Asians are subhumanIn short I hate the heroes and love the villain So how do I grade this?Well I'm going to leave the racism on the table as something that bothers me I've read a lot of fiction from that period as a longtime subscriber to the HPLovecraft Literary Podcast and few affected me like this There's casual racism there's heavy racism and them there's this guySax Rohmer was pissed that he was banned in Nazi Germany because he asserted his books were in no way ideologically opposed to Nazism Screw that guyBut the text does crackle at times The deathtraps are awesome Fu Manchu is amazing strangely honorable and endlessly creativeSo here's how you can add two stars making the review a total of four starsa If I think of KODW as an unreliable narrator chronicling the battle between two eually imperial spies it worksb If you picture the main characters as Inspector Clouseau level bunglers that's cool They're the Colonel Klink of the pulp hero worldc If you can admit that a staggeringly racist author can almost accidentally create a rich character from the people that he despisesAfter all I truly love the character of Fu Manchu as he's presented here I thought he was a fascinating badass when I first encountered him in Marvel Comics as the father of Shang Chi the Master of Kung FuDear merciful Glob do I want that Shang Chi Master of Kung Fu Omnibus Vol 1I can probably read The Return of Dr Fu Manchu as long as Fu Manchu is suitably magnificent in how he foils our heroes Guess what book I'm looking forward to reading ?Yup Ten Years Beyond Baker Street Sherlock Holmes Matches Wits with the Diabolical Dr Fu Manchu is coming to me through the library system now I bet the actual Holmes will have a lot less cringe worthy dialogue about Chinese cruelty The review from afar – No 9 Re revised forward to these overseas reviewsAs I emulate a yo yo I continue to rely on an old style Kindle 3G for any non technical reading I tip my hat to the fine folks at Project Gutenberg virtually every title I have or will be reading in the near future comes from them The Insidious Dr Fu Manchu American title in England The Mystery of Dr Fu Manchu begins the most famous series created by the prolific Sax Rohmer nee’ Arthur Henry Ward Rohmer was a talented man who transitioned from writing comedy and songs for music hall entertainment to weird occult fiction often with an Oriental twist There are decent author profiles here in Goodreads and elsewhereFu Manchu is decidedly un politically correct but importantly he became an archetype for brilliant evil fiends bent on world domination Yes he is a product of his times and the stereotypes and biases of that age but remember that Rohmer was writing popular fiction If the magazine publishers who serialized these works did not see high sales numbers Fu Manchu would have been a one hit wonder instead of an enduring seriesAnd despite the ease that one can denigrate the product this is no simple slam against the Orient Fu Manchu is brilliant He is holds or has the euivalent of four 4 Doctorates in many fields medicine chemistry physics to name but a few He is an accomplished linguist and can match Sherlock Holmes who is not part of these tales disguise for disguise He works for his country via the Si Fan not only personal power and gain He follows instructions and believes as fervently as any holier than thou whack job that his is the hallowed path of goodness no matter what crimes he must commit to achieve his objectives If ever there was a shining example for all of the No 1s of SPECTRE or SMERSH or Auric Goldfinger Doctor Moriarty or even Doctor Evil this is the man His evil is so pure it overwhelms those who are pure of heart and mindAnd yet like Conan Doyle before him once the figure had outgrown his creator’s fame Rohmer cast him aside The first three novels came and went during 1913 through 1917 and there the series sat until 1931 Why? Well conjecture says that he decided that he wanted to write other things and there may be written or oral evidence of this too And so he did One might argue successfully than Conan Doyle ever could But at the same time the character had been filmed in England a daily “comic” strip was about to start and Warner Oland was donning the mantle of evil for Paramount’s first filmIn this and the next two novels the heroes are Colonial Police Commissioner with a Royal Roving License Denis Nayland Smith and his friend and associate and narrator Dr Petrie Petrie is the rock against which Nayland Smith operates providing lodging and assistance whenever and wherever it is needed Nayland Smith is tenacious and occasionally brilliant and has uncovered Fu Manchu and his plans in Asia and tracked him back to England where they must defeat him His roving commission gives him the power to reuest or coerce any and all support that he feels warrantedThere is an obvious parallel to Holmes and Watson here even though Nayland Smith is not the deductive powerhouse that The World’s Greatest Consulting Detective is But neither is an idiot Forget Nigel Bruce’s dim witted portrayal of Watson Like the deerstalker cap it isn’t really part of Conan Doyle’s writings Watson is of course no Holmes and he loses at least one maybe two wives to an illness but he’s a capable Doctor and Surgeon No mere mortal can seem smart when compared to the brilliance even muted as it is here of the leading man But what they appear to lack in brains these second bananas make up for it in emotion and directness and romance as it turns outAs his chief assistant Fu Manchu wields the incomparably lovely and mysterious Karamaneh which means “slave” She and her brother were sold to the Si Fan the criminal organization that the Doctor works for years before Her real name is hidden and she is compelled to follow Fu Machu’s orders because he has her brother drugged and captive Karamaneh is smart she is clever and she is seductive; all traits that she employs in carrying out her assignments Petrie is smitten by her at first glanceSince these are among his best known works I’m going to avoid any real summation of the plot or action When they first appeared they were instantly popular and garnered fame and wealth for the author As previously noted Fu Manchu became the symbol of the evil Orient especially the threat of the “Yellow Peril” with wide enough recognition that later characters would be patterned after him Ming the Merciless Flash Gordon instantly comes to mindAt the same time in the real world Sun Yat Sen had finally led a successful overthrow of the ing Dynasty 1911 the Japanese had defeated a European Power Russia on land and sea in 1905 only 40 short years after the Meiji Restoration and industrialization of Japan and the uneual treaties of the Western Powers with China were still in force But as today jingoism trumps reality and intrigue blood and stereotypes sell Just check out the opposite side’s which ever you prefer most vocal Talking Heads or Talk Radio meat puppets Can we truly say that we’ve gotten better except at superficial lip service?Since I have been reading a lot of older material I accept that the styles beliefs and prejudices of the authors in their day reflect their world than anything innate That may be or less true depending on the individual but I am reading for enjoyment and diversion and I can tolerate a lot in pursuit of a good story And despite the rough edges part of their appeal originally these are good stories and Doctor Fu Manchu is a most wonderful adversaryThree 30 Solid Stars for the actual writing but Four 40 Stars awarded for creating one of the Baddest of the Bad Guys of All TimeYou can get this story for free from the Gutenberg Project site 'The Insidious Dr Fu Manchu' is the American title for 'The Mystery of Fu Manchu' published in the UK in 1913 which in turn was the novelisation of a series of short stories by Sax Rohmer published in 1912It is an exercise in sustained hysteria which is only partly explained by the original short story magazine format with its reuirement for cliff hangars and constant thrills Yet it remains a classic as the uintessential expression of Edwardian imperial paranoia and self imageI reviewed Phil Baker's biography of Sax Rohmer at so there is no need to add to the analysis there All we need to know here is that an early Fu Manchu novel should be on the reading list of any ironical post modern EnglishmanWhatever you do do not take this book too seriously Just go with the maniacal flow and enjoy it Be a bit steampunk and fantasise about living in a world where people like Nayland Smith and Dr Petrie the Holmes and Watson of the story could exist and be taken seriouslyThe evil villain Fu Manchu is truly evil but he is granted high intelligence and has the same cause as Captain Nemo a loathing of British imperialism There is an ambiguity in the tale as our heroes recognise that their Chinese antagonist is actually much brighter than they areIn the end Nayland Smith and Petrie win because they are dogged persistent and stout hearted and because they are lucky After a while we might even sympathise with Fu Manchu whose brilliant evil plans are constantly thwarted by an excitable mid ranking official and an amateurMy old Victorian founded grammar school had a school song with the lines 'sentiment is than skill' The pragmatic anti intellectualism gamesmanship and moral self righteousness of the English middle classes are well expressed in this tale of secret service defence of the imperial realmLater in the series Fu Manchu becomes a little human and less of a theatrical villain one who is not merely inscrutable but genuinely gratuitously murderous and cruel but here the best word for him comes from Victorian melodrama daastardlyThe 'novel' is little than a series of unusual crimes committed or threatened solved or thwarted by our heroes amidst much mystery and puzzlement More often than not we see a life threatening event cunningly pre planned by the evil doctor from which they bound freeThere is a sustained love interest in the beautiful Arab slave Karamaneh whose ambiguous charms express all the yearning of the English middle class male reader for the louche sexual pleasures of freedom from responsibility Pages could be written on the sexual aspects of the plot but suffice it to say that Petrie's love for this exotic woman which she reciprocates freuently results in the plans of the heroes coming to naught largely to permit the next story in the seriesPetrie is the sort of man who would later be characterised as Colonel Blimp in Powell and Pressburger's 1943 film Since Petrie like Watson tells the tale we can only surmise Nayland Smith's periodic despair at the plot necessary stupidity of his dim but honourable amanuensisStill they triumph in the end though not enough to stop 14 official one posthumous Rohmer outings for the villain five or six authorised post Rohmer continuations and at least five and probably many appearances in the fiction of other writersThe novel is like a time travel experience to another moral world wholly incomparable to our own and it is definitely not great literature but its verve and its essential simplicity as well as its almost ridiculous story line make it an enjoyable read from the age of Zane Grey and Edgar Rice Burroughs I finished reading The Insidious Dr Fu Manchu last Friday on the way home from work It’s the first book I read on my Nook; I downloaded it for free from Googlecom I think I first read the Fu Manchu series sometime in the mid seventies or at least first eight Of course I bought them all and the remaining six are sitting unread on a shelf or in a box someplaceFirst about the edition According to the text in the book Google scanned a hard copy from some library converted to text using OCR software and then to eBook format The OCR was pretty good but there are still uite a few typos Usually the meaning was pretty clear but one particularly obnoxious recurring error was Pu Manchu for Fu Manchu It appears over 10 times in the book; not a great number but very annoying as it disrupted my involvement in the storyWell about the story This is the book that introduced Fu Manchu one of the great villains of pulp fiction The heroes of the story are Nayland Smith and Dr Petrie In the Sherlock Holmes tradition the novel is narrated by the good doctor and the main actor is Smith Interestingly Petrie occasionally speaks directly to the reader telling us what we’re reading was written after the factThe novel begins with Smith’s arrival on Petrie’s doorstep recently arrived from Burma on the trail as we eventually learn of Fu Manchu As the novel continues Smith and Petrie encounter Fu Manchu’s insidious plots sometimes in time to stop them and sometimes not And we meet the beautiful Karamanèh slave to Fu Manchu What are her real motives? Is she trying to kill Smith or ?The plot is episodic and in the pulp tradition has plenty of mini cliffhangers with Petrie or Smith trapped with no way out All in all this is a pretty decent pulp novel There’s a reason Fu Manchu didn’t fade into obscurityBut this book and if I recall correctly its seuels have one serious defect that lessens my enjoyment The story isn’t just about Smith versus Fu Manchu and Fu Manchu’s attempt to rule the world; Smith states over and over again that Fu Manchu’s victory would mean “the victory of the yellow races over the white” This isn’t the casual racism of Haggard or Burroughs against blacks in their African stories The book uses or perhaps furthers the “Yellow Peril” of the early 20th century to add to the excitementTo my mind the overt racism of the books isn’t necessary; the books would work just as well without it So a decent book marred by it time As long as I could ignore the racism it was pretty enjoyable Unfortunately the racism was hard to ignore I doubt I’ll dig up the unread books First published in 1913 read by me over 100 years later in 2014 Yes there are overwhelming amounts of Orientalism and obnoxious English stereotyping For example Dr Fu Manchu is always the face of the yellow threat So the novel displays the xenophobia of the age However it does present a mysterious exotic villain The main characters are constantly failing on this adventurous chase to arrest Dr Fu Manchu but they do hustle the reader along in non stop exploits of hasty detective work If you are interested in pulp novels early adventure stories exotic villains this is the novel for you I came across an old copy of this in my library's stacks I'm a sucker for old mysteries and obviously knew of this one by reputation but let's just say I was still unprepared for the horrific racism and sexism in this book The plot is very excitingas long as you are prepared to accept at face value that the fate of the White Race is on the line at the hands of the sinister Chinese and to read a great deal of pretty outrageous accusations and characterizations along these lines Should probably be kept out of the hands of the average Trump voter who would be sadly likely to take the whole thing at face value The shadow of Fu Manchu powered by the author's deranged racism is so powerful it overwhelms the reality of the novel A wyrd cartoon character bleeding into tedious reality He can be fun even if it should be remembered that even unintentionally hilarious racism is still dangerous and must be extinguished The most revealing insight to be gleaned from this tosh is how the white race and western civilization are presented as the same thing It is important to keep this in mind when listening to real racists speak today Things haven't changed as much as we'd preferAs for this trashy mess? Fu Manchu is so ridiculously over the top silly bizarre and hammy a creation it's hard for me not to at least slightly enjoy him The two heroes here are wet rubbish Holmes and Watson knock offs rightly forgotten by pop culture In Fu Manchu himself the trashy Sax Rohmer created a legendary rock star pulp creation out of his own insane racial hysteria Eventually this type of fiction would realise its ridiculousness and drop the racism angle see Vincent Price's Dr Phibes or countless Saturday morning cartoon villains Oftentimes I'm able to look past the racism to enjoy a classic story Here the racism is the story While still incredibly racist adaptations sanitise the material and tend to make Fu Manchu an independent supervillain here he is a literal embodiment of the inherent evil of the Chinese out to destroy the white race Despite this he's the most likeable character in the damn book and Rohmer's insane depiction of the horrors of China peaking in wyrd aspect with a delirious nightmare dungeon of monstrous fungus overwhelmingly appeal over the bland arid white civilization we're supposed to be rooting for The looming shadow of Fu Manchu is the only prospect of anything of interest happening in the world Rohmer creates An escape and salvation rather than a figure of cultural oblivion This is the first in a series of popular ‎Techno thriller‎; ‎Spy fiction written before WWI It’s a Sherlock Holmes like story It pits English gentlemen against an Oriental sic evil genius committing acts of espionage kidnapping and assassination in London for a shadowy Chinese political movement A surprisingly modern premise It’s a good early example of the techno thrillerspy fiction genres although a modern reader may find the style to be peculiar when compared to modern examples of the genres However the narration is period perfect better than can be found in contemporary historical fiction It’s a real if somewhat uncomfortable example of period fiction for readers interested in the popular culture of the early Windsor period of English historyThis book is than 100 years old It's original copy write is 1913 It was moderately long by modern standards My copy was 308 pages This story and others from the series are in the public domain Free copies are available on Project Gutenberg where I got my copyThe author Sax Rohmer wrote fourteen 14 Fu Manchu series books between 1912 to 1959 Interestingly despite its heavy far eastern content the author had never left Britain before writing the first three 3 books of the series This book was initially serialized for magazine publication in 1912 and published as a novel in 1913 The first three books of the series include the protagonists in this oneI’ve taken an interest in reading fiction from the first half of the 20th Century to see how differently folks thought versus now These 100 year old stories are historically interesting than contemporary historical fiction taking place in that period They’re much authentic In particular most writers of historical fiction can’t get into character At heart they are 21st century men and women Their characters end up being modern folks in period clothing and affecting the speech of the historical period In this book the author and his audience actually live in the first half of 20th century Britain The story isn’t providing a 20th century period edu tainment to a 21st century audience The story is providing 20th century edu tainment to a 20th century audience The resulting narration is different from a modern story but not so completely different as to be unrecognizableOne of the things I look for in these old stories is the Values Dissonance That’s when the morality of the characters and culture in a story written than 100 years ago are different from the current morality Racist fears of foreign cultures and sexual anxieties weren’t really too different 100 years ago For example this story is an example of Yellow Peril literature A then current psycho cultural belief of a racial menace from the East similar to contemporary white supremacist sentimentsBesides the Value dissonance I look to find spelling differences word changes name changes and differences in writing styles in these old books In this story I noted the period British spelling of the common word “clue” to be “clew” The modern spelling is now universal Also words change their meanings The word oriental was commonly used in the story Today its considered derogatory and is no longer used even to describe a broad range of traditional carpet types Locations 100 years ago were not uniformly Romanized Freuently I found far east locations referenced in the story had disappeared from the modern map due to name changes Names of common objects also fall out of use A “brassie” was used as a weapon in the story Only after a chapter of use did I receive enough clews sic to figure out it was an obsolete type of golf club that has since been replaced by the 3 iron Also many readers may find the vocabulary of these stories antiue and challenging “ Viridescence ” sent me to the dictionary I suspect part of the 20th Century edu tainment value of these stories was a vocabulary lesson something shunned in many modern stories Finally many of the then new and clever plot devices found here have over time have become tired tropes to a modern reader Narrative style has also changed The epistolary style is rarely used today but was very popular 100 and years agoProse was very good Dialog was better than descriptive prose The dialog was in the vernacular of the British established middle and the Elite classes In general the dialog was too melodramatic by contemporary standards For example the description of the antagonist Fu Manchu” Dr Fu Manchu whose tentacles were dacoity thuggee modes of death secret and swift which in the darkness plucked men from life and left no clew behind”This story was written for a popular audience in 1913 It’s been scrubbed of anything then British society might find objectionable There are no profanities or vulgarities in the text There is no sex English gentleman apparently should regard “Oriental beauties” as forbidden fruit There are obliue references to human trafficking There was significant substance abuse Alcohol was used in a medicinal capacity by the English gentlemen The gentlemen smoked up a tobacco storm in their pipes and occasionally smoked cigarettes However the “eastern vices” of opium and hemp were in use by the underclasses and foreigners and to “rufie” the unwaryCannabis indica I said—Indian hemp That is what you were drugged with I have no doubt that now you experience a feeling of nausea and intense thirst with aching in the muscles particularly the deltoid I think you must have taken at least fifteen grains That does not read like the effects of the Special Kush #1 found at my local marijuana dispensary Violence was not graphic It consisted of edged weapon physical and firearms The Asians used edged weapons the whites firearms There is a minimum of trauma and blood The Asian and South Asian minions of Fu Manchu got shot and fell over dead without the modern complications of bleeding out The body count was moderate This could be considered a YA read except for the racial and social subtextThere is a limited number of characters The influence of Arthur Conan Doyle is obvious upon the author The protagonists are Sir Denis Nayland Smith and Dr Petrie They are clearly Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson Smith is the law man protagonist He’s Sherlock with a “license to kill” from the Crown He’s not as deductive as Sherlock but he’s really lucky Dr Petrie is Dr Watson He's a Medical Man too If you know that character you don’t need to know any Oddly I don’t recall him having a first name Karamaneh is an early example of a femme fatale Her name means “slave” She’s the beautiful Arab Egyptian slave of Fu Manchu and Petrie’s unconsummated love interest Fu Manchu apparently doesn’t use her sexually himself but does employ her as a honeypot for western gentlemen The antagonist is Dr Fu Manchu He’s an evil well funded Chinese super villain genius He's a PhD not a Medical Man Imagine a Chinese Osama bin Laden times ten terrorist He’s employed by a shadowy Chinese political organization He’s always a step and a half ahead of Smith Petrie and Scotland Yard His signature is to kill or incapacitate his foes in the most elaborate way possible However like Smith he’s a “man of honor” There are also numerous English gentlemen and their wives along with Indian Burmese and “copper” redshirts Women with the exception of Karamaneh do not play a large part in the storyThe story is written in a semi epistolary form This is a very common style of writing for the period Narrative cuts back and forth between Petrie’s first person narration and his journal entries Action scenes are in Petrie’s first person POV while the journal artifice being used for exposition type narration certain reveals and jumping the story ahead The serialization of the story is also apparent in the chapter structure and the story's pacingPlot has Smith returning to Blighty from Burma hot on the trail of Fu Manchu Fu Manchu is tasked by a shadowy Chinese political organization to assassinate key British Empire Chinese policy makers adverse to their goals He’s also to steal valuable British technology and kidnap notable western engineers for work in China This all sounds very modern doesn’t it? Smith and Petrie chase around London having several adventures either to capture Fu Manchu or foil his assassinations kidnaps and thefts Part of the edu tainment is Fu Manchu’s very elaborate methods Like the Russians using polonium 210 a poisonous radioactive isotope rather than shoot knife or blow up a victim Fu Manchu would use a venomous insect or snake biological or chemical poison It’s part of the edutainment value of the story to learn how to kill using the venom of a hamadryad King Cobra but not the malt liuor Smith and Petrie survive capture and death several times only by pure luck By turning Karamenah Smith and Petrie foil almost all of Fu Machu’s machinations but they fail to capture him He escapes to appear in another bookAs a thriller a modern reader has seen this story many times There are numerous plot holes discontinuities and many pages of needless exposition that adversely affect the pacing I was constantly annoyed that when “good guys” were captured by the bad guys they were never relieved of their pocket knives which they subseuently used to cut their bonds and escape Also there were too many assassinations kidnappings thefts and well laid plans to capture It was getting boring by page 250The anthropological whiteness of the story is obvious The bad guys were Asians or South Asians and the good guys Anglo Saxon There was a lot of The White Man’s Burden in the text There were several Rudyard Kipling uotes in the story Petrie and Karamenah pined for each other but East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet was uoted to fend off miscegenation There are also no black characters I got the feeling there were none in London in 1912?This story was about what I expected The prose particularly the descriptions were interesting to read I improved my vocabulary and learned a lot about the state of science and technology in the pre WWI British Empire I found Chinese theft of intellectual property to be a surprisingly modern plot device within the story I did find the pacing to be slow by modern standards Unfortunately in places I found the social commentary disturbing to my modern sensibilities For example at the stories end Karamenah was repatriated back to Egypt That was because it would not be proper for Petrie to have a relationship with an Arab women Realistically her fate upon return to Egypt can't have been good In summary this was an interesting read if you have a historical interest in the late British Empire but you may find it baffling and possibly offensiveReaders interested in some background on this period of English history might try Inglorious Empire What the British Did to India and Imperial Twilight The Opium War and the End of China's Last Golden Age I’m undecided if I’ll read the second book in the Fu Manchu series The Devil Doctor

The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu ePUB Ç The Mystery  PDF
  • Paperback
  • 232 pages
  • The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu
  • Sax Rohmer
  • English
  • 02 February 2015
  • 9781583483275