Musings and Mumbling on What I Read and Watch and Listen To.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Blogging Sax Rohmer’s The Mask of Fu Manchu – Part Three
Sax Rohmer’s The Mask of Fu Manchu was originally serialized in Collier’s from May 7 to July 23, 1932. It was published in book form later that year by Doubleday in the US and the following year by Cassell in the UK. It became the most successful book in the series thanks to MGM’s cult classic film version starring Boris Karloff and Myrna Loy that made it into theaters later that same year.
The third part of the book sees Sir Denis Nayland Smith, Dr. Petrie, Sir Lionel Barton, and Shan Greville make their way to the Great Pyramid where Sir Lionel will hand over the relics of El Mokanna to Dr. Fu Manchu in exchange for the release of his niece, Rima who is being held hostage. Sixty Egyptian police officers are employed to surround the Great Pyramid in an effort to bring Fu Manchu to justice and to aid the others in the event they are walking into a trap. Sir Denis insists that Petrie and Barton stay behind while he and Greville make their way to the King’s Chamber, the arranged meeting place.
Rohmer wrings every last bit of suspense from Smith and Greville’s descent into the King’s Chamber. Having actually made the journey himself prior to writing the book enabled him to perfectly capture the claustrophobic anxiety of his heroes’ predicament. Upon arriving in the King’s Chamber, they find Dr. Fu Manchu awaiting them. The fact that he handles the matter in person without any bodyguards emphasizes the new strength and confidence with which Rohmer has imbued the character now that he has at last perfected the elixir vitae.
Of course, the most important quality to Fu Manchu is integrity and, as always, he is a man of his words. He hands over Rima, unharmed and allows them to leave with her while he takes possession of the relics. Sir Lionel is relieved to find his niece safely returned and is elated at the thought of Fu Manchu alone and surrounded, but Sir Denis knows only too well that they have no hope of capturing him.
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I was licensed by Sax Rohmer's Literary Estate to continue the Fu Manchu thrillers. THE TERROR OF FU MANCHU was published in 2009 and was a Pulp Factory Awards nominee for Best Pulp Novel. THE DESTINY OF FU MANCHU was published in April 2012.
My short fiction has appeared in THE RUBY FILES (2012/Airship 27), GASLIGHT GROETESQUE (2009/EDGE Publishing), TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN (2009/Black Coat Press), and LES COMPAGNONS DE L'OMBRE (2010/Riviere Blanche) and in the magazine, Van Helsing's Journal.
I am a former weekly columnist for The Cimmerian and am currently a weekly columnist for The Black Gate. My articles have been published in the magazines Blood 'n' Thunder, Van Helsing's Journal, and The Official Magazine of The Peter Sellers Appreciation Society. I was very honored to be nominated for a Rondo Award for Best Article of 2010 for a contribution to Van Helsing's Journal.
I recently collaborated with Tom Bleecker on the screenplay adaptation of his new novel, TEA MONEY. Still to come is THE OCCULT CASE BOOK OF SHANKAR HARDWICKE (a collection of short fiction featuring an original Edwardian detective) and a hardboiled detective novel, LAWHEAD.