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The Yellow Claw by Sax Rohmer

The Yellow Claw (1915)

by Sax Rohmer

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This novel has an antiquarian almost "penny dreadful" feel about it. Gaston Max is a renowned French detective who has come to London on the trail of a Chinese syndicate who are setting up opium dens around the world. They have snared would be socialites and people who have acquired the opium habit while on diplomatic service in China. The French Surete has established that a considerable sum of money has come into the Paris opium den through a bank cheque drawn on the account of Henry Leroux, in whose London flat a woman has died.

Max is a master of disguise. He sets up a honey trap to ensnare Mr King by posing as an opium addict who wishes to use the services of the London den. In some ways Max is a forerunner of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. He basically works alone, playing his cards very close to his chest until he is very sure of his deductions, and he relies very heavily on logic.

On the other hand the author can be seen to be in the mould of Conan Doyle with very detailed descriptions of both characters and settings. The language is a little dated, at times using vocabulary many readers would recognize as obsolete.

I was particularly interested in the timing of this plot, set before World War One, which attributes corruption in high places to the Asiatic influences, a little ironic as it was the British who intentionally introduced opium to China through trade in the 1840s. ( )
  smik | Jan 7, 2015 |
A genuine page turner. You had to find out what was going to happen next. ( )
  nwdavies | Aug 21, 2014 |
  angharad | Nov 15, 2005 |
By the author of the Fu Manchu series. As I am a fan of bad novels, and old novels, I had great fun reading this bad old novel. It bills itself as "A novel of perilous adventure", and was originally published in 1915. Plenty racist, as the plot orbits opium dens and their conspiratorial menace to English Society ("evil" occurs four times on the back cover, as well as "doom", "peril", "sinister", and "frightful death"). ( )
  angharad_reads | Oct 21, 2005 |
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Henry Leroux wrote busily on.
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Originally serialized in Lippincott's, February-June, 1915.
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Detectives Gaston Max and Inspector Dunbar chase the evil Dr. King and his international gang of hoodlums to discover the secret of their power over many of London's elite.

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