Sunday, January 01, 2017

Fu Manchu Chapter One

So, I'm reading The Insidious Dr Fu Manchu* and writing brief notes every chapter, and I don't have to explain my reasons for doing this to you, so I'm just going to do it and post them up.

We're introduced to our narrator Dr Petrie, who has a late visitor - his friend Nayland Smith who he thought was in Burma. Smith immediately turns off the lamp. "No doubt you will think me mad," he says.

He then (after re-lighting the lamp) shows off a wound of which he says. "A barb steeped in the venom of a hamadryad went in there!" If you say so Smith, if you say so. He boasts about the only treatment, which involves a sharp knife, a match, and a broken cartridge and is about as gruesome as you might expect.

Smith goes on to explain that the 'fiend' who extracted the venom and prepared the arrow that poisoned him is in London so he has "traveled from Burma not in the interests of the British Government merely, but in the interests of the entire white race, and I honestly believe—though I pray I may be wrong—that its survival depends largely upon the success of my mission."

Starting to think I may have seen Smith's twitter feed.

Smith says that the next target will be Sir Crichton Davey who Petrie describes as "of the India - " before being cut off by Smith who says they have no time to lose. In fact he is correct, or perhaps not correct, I've confused myself here; in any case when they arrive they discover Davey is already dead. That's one down for the white race, assuming that Davey is actually white (Full description: "He had been of spare but hardy build, with thin, aquiline features, which now were oddly puffy, as were his clenched hands." Ambiguous. Also A CLUE in the form of what appears to be lipstick kiss mark on his hand).

His last words, to his secretary, were "The Red Hand." Also, unusually, he had asked the secretary to search his study as he thought that "something" was concealed there. The chapter closes with Smith and Petrie about to search the study themselves.

*Published in the UK as The Mystery of Fu Manchu. I'm using the American version as the free (because out of copyright) versions I've found on line use that title.

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