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Sax Rohmer (1883–1959)

Author of The Insidious Doctor Fu-Manchu

187+ Works 5,503 Members 78 Reviews 19 Favorited

About the Author

Sax Rohmer was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he adopted the name Sarsfield, the name of a famous Irish general admired by Rohmer's mother. He married Rose Elizabeth Knox in 1909 and, at his wife's insistence, began using the name Sax Rohmer for his fiction, eventually show more employing the pseudonym as his actual name. Rohmer was basically a self-taught scholar. He started writing as a journalist; his beat was the Limehouse underworld in London. Rohmer had a difficult time breaking into the professional fiction markets, but once he did, he became a household name for exotic adventure both in England and in America. Although his writing brought Rohmer success and money, he was never much of a businessman, and most of his wealth was squandered because of his extravagance and through financial mismanagement. Rohmer eventually moved to New York City. One of Rohmer's great intellectual interests was the occult and supernatural, and these elements frequently appeared as motifs in his fiction. His most famous creation was the evil oriental mastermind, Dr. Fu Manchu, first presented in the novel The Mystery of Fu Manchu in 1913 (later retitled The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu for its American publication, also in 1913). Most espionage or adventure fiction exploits the social paranoias of its time, and Rohmer himself effectively tapped the Westerner's fear of the stereotyped "yellow peril" threat---the negatively perceived belief that Orientals will conquer the world. The Fu Manchu adventures were patterned, in part, after Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Rohmer's protagonists in these adventures, Sir Denis Nayland Smith and his companion Dr. Petrie, look very much like Doyle's Holmes and Watson, but, whereas Doyle centered his narratives on the heroes and specifically on the elaborate process of detection, Rohmer focused his attention on the villain and on slam-bang action. Fu Manchu was a master of both Western science and Eastern mysticism, and his efforts at world domination caused no end of problems for Smith and Petrie. In Fu Manchu, Rohmer had created the most famous villain in popular fiction (although Rohmer maintained that Fu Manchu was based on an actual Limehouse criminal). Despite Rohmer's use of outrageous racial stereotyping, many of his novels hold up well today and provide superior examples of how to create narrative pacing and suspense. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Rohmer was born Arthur Henry Ward. He later added Sarsfield to his name.


Works by Sax Rohmer

The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu (1916) 306 copies
The Hand of Fu Manchu (1917) 261 copies
The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) 239 copies
Daughter Of Fu Manchu (1931) 208 copies
Brood of the Witch-Queen (1918) 204 copies
The Trail Of Fu Manchu (1934) 179 copies
The Bride Of Fu Manchu (1933) 172 copies
The Yellow Claw (1915) 150 copies
The Drums of Fu Manchu (1939) 146 copies
The Island Of Fu Manchu (1941) 145 copies
The golden scorpion (1919) 126 copies
The Shadow of Fu Manchu (1948) 123 copies
President Fu Manchu (1936) 123 copies
The green eyes of Bast (1920) 118 copies
Re-Enter Dr Fu Manchu (1957) 116 copies
The dream detective (1920) 111 copies
Bat Wing (1921) 103 copies
The Romance of Sorcery (1914) 96 copies
Dope (1919) 94 copies
Fire-Tongue (1901) 92 copies
Emperor Fu Manchu (1959) 85 copies
Tales of Chinatown (1922) 78 copies
The wrath of Fu Manchu (1973) 74 copies
The day the world ended (1930) 69 copies
Tales of secret Egypt (1918) 69 copies
The Sins of Sumuru (1950) 47 copies
The Sins of Severac Bablon (1914) 46 copies
Grey Face (1924) 42 copies
The Orchard of Tears (1918) 42 copies
Sumuru (1951) 41 copies
The secret of Holm Peel (1970) 37 copies
Yellow Shadows (1925) 31 copies
Hangover house (1949) 30 copies
Return of Sumuru (1954) 29 copies
The Emperor of America (1929) 28 copies
Yu'an Hee See laughs (1932) 26 copies
Sinister Madonna (1956) 25 copies
Moon of Madness (1927) 23 copies
The Haunting of Low Fennel (1920) 23 copies
The bat flies low (1935) 22 copies
She Who Sleeps (1928) 21 copies
Bim-bashi Baruk of Egypt (1944) 19 copies
The Fire Goddess (1952) 19 copies
Seven sins (1943) 18 copies
White Velvet (1936) 14 copies
Sax Rohmer's Dope (2017) — Source Material Author — 10 copies
The Moon is Red (1954) 7 copies
The Death Ring of Sneferu (2004) 5 copies
Breath Of Allah (2004) 5 copies
The Mysterious Mummy (2010) 5 copies
The Book of Fu-Manchu (1930) 4 copies
The White Hat (2010) 3 copies
A House Possessed (2004) 3 copies
Tchériapin (2010) 3 copies
Occhi nel buio (1997) 2 copies
The Zayat Kiss 2 copies
The Dance Of The Veils (2004) 2 copies
La Déesse Aux Yeux Verts (1985) 2 copies
Wulfheim (1950) 2 copies
Lure Of Souls 2 copies
El diabólico Fu-Manchú (2001) 2 copies
FU MANCHU T01 (1996) 1 copy
Eldtungan 1 copy
The Green Spider (1904) 1 copy
Omnibusbogen — Author — 1 copy
Fu Manchu (2008) — Author — 1 copy
Tales Of Abu Tabah (1918) 1 copy
Le docteur Fu Manchu (1996) 1 copy
Ruka doktora Fu-Manchu (1995) 1 copy
The Fu-Manchu Omnibus (2011) 1 copy
Fu Manchu 1 copy
Bazarada 1 copy

Associated Works

Great Irish Tales of Horror: A Treasury of Fear (1995) — Contributor — 321 copies
The Omnibus of Crime (1929) — Contributor — 208 copies
London After Midnight : A Tour of Its Criminal Haunts (1996) — Contributor — 135 copies
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: A Month of Mystery (1968) — Contributor — 118 copies
The Big Book of Adventure Stories (2011) — Contributor — 112 copies
Into the Mummy's Tomb (2001) — Contributor — 111 copies
Wolf's Complete Book of Terror (1979) — Contributor — 75 copies
Fighters of Fear: Occult Detective Stories (2020) — Contributor — 48 copies
The Necromancers (1971) — Contributor — 34 copies
Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery, and Horror (1928) — Contributor — 32 copies
King Solomon's Mines and Other Adventure Classics (2016) — Contributor — 29 copies
The Mystery Book (1934) — Contributor — 29 copies
Tales of Dungeons and Dragons (1986) — Contributor — 23 copies
The World's Best One Hundred Detective Stories, Volume 8 (1929) — Contributor — 23 copies
Satanism and Witches (1974) — Contributor — 23 copies
The Masterpiece Library of Short Stories (1904) — Contributor — 22 copies
The Magicians: Occult Stories (1972) — Contributor — 18 copies
Prince of Darkness (1978) — Contributor — 16 copies
Tales of the Occult (1975) — Author, some editions — 16 copies
The Second Book of Unknown Tales of Horror (1826) — Contributor — 14 copies
The Mummy: Stories of the Living Corpse (1988) — Contributor — 11 copies
The Ash-Tree Press Annual Macabre 2000 (2000) — Contributor — 10 copies
The 7th Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories (1972) — Contributor — 10 copies
M Is for Monster: A Modern Bestiary of Classic Monsters (2011) — Contributor — 9 copies
50 Classic Mystery Books (2010) — Contributor — 7 copies
A Tide of Terror; An Anthology of Rare Horror Stories. (1972) — Contributor — 6 copies
My Best Thriller (1947) — Contributor — 5 copies
Avon Fantasy Reader No. 7 (1948) — Contributor — 5 copies
Ancient Egyptian Supernatural Tales (2016) — Contributor — 5 copies
The great weird stories (1977) — Contributor — 4 copies
London After Midnight: A Conducted Tour, Part 1 (1996) — Contributor — 4 copies
The Spy in the Shadows [Anthology 8-in-1] (1965) — Contributor — 3 copies
Fantastiske fortellinger — Contributor — 3 copies
The Bedside Bonanza (1944) — Contributor — 2 copies
Horror and Homicide (1949) — Contributor — 1 copy


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Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Rohmer, Sax
Legal name
Ward, Arthur Henry (born)
Ward, Arthur Henry Sarsfield (adopted this name)
Other names
Rohmer, Sax
Furey, Michael
Date of death
Burial location
Kensal Green Catholic Cemetery, London, England, UK
Country (for map)
England, UK
Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, UK
Place of death
London, England, UK
Places of residence
New York, New York, USA
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
White Plains, New York, USA
magazine writer
bank clerk
errand boy
Rohmer, Elizabeth Sax (wife)
Short biography
Sax Rohmer was born in Birmingham of Irish parents, William Ward and Margaret Mary (Furey) Ward. He received no formal schooling until he was nine or ten years old, but his father taught his son to read.

After finishing his schooling, Rohmer worked at numerous odd jobs. At the age of 20 he began his writing career with THE MYSTERIOUS MUMMY, which appeared in Pearson's Weekly in 1903. In 1909 he married Rose Elizabeth Knox, whose father had been a well-known comedian.

During the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most widely read magazine writers in the English language. After World War 2 the Rohmers moved to New York City, where he continued writing.
Disambiguation notice
Rohmer was born Arthur Henry Ward. He later added Sarsfield to his name.



THE DEEP ONES: "Tchériapin" by Sax Rohmer in The Weird Tradition (February 2014)
Sax Rohmer in The Weird Tradition (June 2013)


Not altogether bad if you're looking for the written equivalent of one of the mindless detective shows that fill most television line-ups these days. Pacing and plotting pretty much mirrors that of radio dramas of the time. I can't fault it for lacking depth if depth was not what was called for, but I can't say it's really what I'd hoped either.
judeprufrock | 25 other reviews | Jul 4, 2023 |
Sax Rohmer - [Sumuru] (The slaves of Sumuru)
Pulp fiction writer Sax Rohmer is better known for his Fu Manchu series of books, but he also wrote a further five book series staring Sumuru whose mission was to ensure that women ruled the world. This 1951 edition is the second book in the series and tells of Sumuru's attempts to ferment a take over in America.

The slaves of Sumuru are the most beautiful women in America who are under the power of sorceress and criminal mastermind Sumuru. Rohmer drafted in Drake Roscoe from the Fu Manchu series to thwart Sumuru's ambitions, but with her powers of seduction never known to fail, Roscoe is always on the back-foot. The interesting part of this nonsense is the idea of these beautiful women breeding a future race dedicated to the glorification of women. Sumuru claims that her people failed to stop Hitler, but managed to put obstacles in his way, she wants to outlaw ugliness and abolish war. In her female dominated world only men with great brains or physical beauty would be kept for breeding purposes. If this all sounds like a weird adventure story with added doses of titillation then this is not far from the actuality. It certainly could have been better written and made less confusing. Rohmer did his best with the titillation, and does manage to create some atmosphere of voluptuous abandon, but was probably hampered by 1950's conventions.

She escapes the clutches of the American secret service with some ease so that she can appear in the next novel where she claims she is heading behind the iron curtain; I wont be following her. 2.5 stars.
… (more)
baswood | Apr 5, 2023 |
In this book Sax Rohmer, the creator of Fu Manchu, turns to from the Chinese to the Jews as an "eastern" nation and a force in world politics. Bablon, a mysterious heir of King David, uses various bizarrely contrived plots to extort money and win Britain's wealthy to his cause, all for a mysterious end only made plain at the end of the novel. The plot is so dependent on the time it was written, which was the lead-up to World War I, that the book and its predictions became dated just a few months after it was published. Any novel requires a willing suspension of disbelief, but to enjoy this book one must have greater skill at suspending disbelief than I possess.… (more)
marc_beherec | 1 other review | Jan 28, 2023 |
My first Fu-Manchu (even though this is the 3rd in the series). Mixed feelings... the absurd klang of repeated reference to the yellow peril and the devilish race of the Asians would be enough to put off many/most i know, but i bleep over that part as if it is a science fiction and we have this other worldly master species (mind control, intuition, second sight- i don't know what else). Still i found myself enjoying this adventure story greatly from episode to episode... which is the downfall of the style as well. Over and over, our heroes are captured, but escape or capture the evil and then the evil escapes over and over and on and on. Yes- always the them of a series with a villain, but so much more in your face in this book- simple - digestible adventures. No doubt i responded to this as i am supposed to- as in a Hardy Boys book or maybe Sherlock Holmes (more to the direct comparison) or Edgar Wallace... so obvious, but yet so enticing ... the scorpions, the regular druggings, and the browning reports. I shall read more, but feel a bit guilty about it.… (more)
apende | 1 other review | Jul 12, 2022 |



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