Monday, January 23, 2017

Fu-Manchu Chapter Twenty Three

 (I'm reading The Mystery of Dr Fu-Manchu also known as The Insidious Dr Fu-Manchu and have reached Chapter Twenty Three. Three days after Henry Stradwick, Lord Southrey died very unsuspiciously Petrie and Smith are going to save him)

"YOUR extraordinary proposal fills me with horror, Mr. Smith!"

"The sleek little man in the dress suit, who looked like a head waiter (but was the trusted legal adviser of the house of Southery) puffed at his cigar indignantly. Nayland Smith, whose restless pacing had led him to the far end of the library, turned, a remote but virile figure, and looked back to where I stood by the open hearth with the solicitor."

Oo-er. So opens this chapter. Eventually Smith convinces Mr Henderson and they go to the tombs of the Stradwicks. Petrie explains: "For, under conditions which, in the event of failure and exposure, must have led to an unpleasant inquiry by the British Medical Association, I was about to attempt an experiment never before essayed by a physician of the white races." So, something medically unethical and only done by non-whites. Sounds a bit dodgy. He injects Lord Southery with the amber fluid that Fu-Manchu used to resurrect Aziz and he comes back to life. Mr Henderson faints.

Then Smith warns them all to be quiet. "HE is here." The HE in capital letters can only refer to Dr Fu-Manchu, obviously. "At last the cunning Chinaman was about to fall into a trap. It would require all his genius, I thought, to save him to-night. Unless his suspicions were aroused by the unlocked door, his capture was imminent."

There's a fight; Fu-Manchu brought a dacoit who stabs Smith and is shot in return. They escape in a car. Trying to chase them would be futile, but Smith thinks he knows where they are going. "Stradwick Hall is less than ten miles from the coast."* He points out the easiest way to get an unconscious man to either his base on the Thames or indeed to China would be in a boat, probably a yacht.

Lord Southery interrupts. "Gentlemen," he said, "it seems I am raised from the dead." Classy!

Smith acknowledges this and then says that, as he knows Fu-Manchu was in Germany three years ago when the great engineer Von Homber died or "died", he predicts that his group has him. "And the futurist group in China knows how to MAKE men work!" Ouch.

* Okay then, so L- is NOT Leicester. Could still be Lancaster or Liverpool. Still very puzzled as to why it's not a named place. Is THIS why the book is called The Mystery of Dr Fu-Manchu in the UK?

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