Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fu-Manchu Chapter Twenty Two

(The Insidious Dr Fu-Manchu/Chapter Twenty Two/Watcha gonna do/Rhymes coming out like woo)

Smith and Petrie are at an impasse. Petrie must keep his promise to Karamaneh to save her brother, but doesn't know what the drug that makes him appear dead is, nor the amber fluid that revives him. Smith, of course, wants to raid Fu-Manchu's house now they know where it is.

Petrie ponders on Fu-Manchu's abilities. "What perverted genius was his! If that treasury of obscure wisdom which he, perhaps alone of living men, had rifled, could but be thrown open to the sick and suffering, the name of Dr. Fu-Manchu would rank with the golden ones in the history of healing."

Smith comes to a decision; to catch the next train to L-.* They race off, comparing great engineers; Petrie admits that the recently deceased Lord Southery might not have been as good as Von Homber of Berlin, but he's been dead for three years. And was German.

Smith muffles himself "up to his eyes" to try and inspect the others on the train without being identified and has Petrie hide in a compartment. "At present I am hopelessly mystified," he says.

At Rugby Smith talks to the stationmaster and when they arrive at L-** a "high-power"*** car is waiting. It takes 20 minutes (so a few miles out of town) to arrive. "Stradwick Hall," said Smith. "The home of Lord Southery. We are first—but Dr. Fu-Manchu was on the train."

Maybe you should have arrested him Smith. Just saying.

*  "Look up the next train to L—!" he rapped.
"To L—? What—?"
What indeed! Is it obscene? Fictional? Is he going to libel, I don't know Liverpool or Leicester or Lee-on-sea?

** So, is L- Leicester, or did they go on to Leeds or Lancaster? Or Liverpool, although I'd have thought they'd need to change at Crewe on that line maybe? Why leave it ambiguous? Is Lord Southery based on someone? This is the greatest mystery of the book so far.

*** 1912 everyone. How high-powered was it? Maybe something like this:
a Vauxhall Prince Henry, state-of-the-art in 1911, sometimes considered the first sports car as it got it's speed from design and construction rather than jamming in the biggest engine possible. Or more likely as it's provincial England, it'll be one of those ones that gets speed from a big engine in a heavy chassis.
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