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Tales of Chinatown

Sax Rohmer

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Start."

Kerry leaped in and banged the door—and the Rolls-Royce started.





II AT MALAY JACK'S

When Kerry left Bond Street the mistiness of the night was developing into definite fog. It varied in different districts. Thus, St. Paul's Churchyard had been clear of it at a time when it had lain impenetrably in Trafalgar Square. When, an hour and a half after setting out in the commandeered Rolls-Royce, Kerry groped blindly along Limehouse Causeway, it was through a yellow murk that he made his way—a vapour which could not only be seen, smelled and felt, but tasted.

He was in one of his most violent humours. He found some slight solace in the reflection that the impudent chauffeur, from whom he had parted in West India Dock Road, must experience great difficulty in finding his way back to the West End.

"Damn the fog!" he muttered, coughing irritably.

It had tricked him, . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A selection of 10 Rohmer stories, more or less set in London's Chinatown. The first two feature one of Rohmer's recurring characters detective "Red" Kerry, who had appeared in "Dope" and would go on to appear in "Yellow Shadows," but there's no sign of Fu Manchu, even in a un-billed guest appeara...more

"Sometimes a furtive shadow would move out of some black gully and fade into a dimly seen doorway in a manner peculiarly unpleasant and Asiatic."

Funny, but only because I'm not Chinese, I'm afraid. If I were, I'd be cringing. (Although the author did have a go at my ethnicity too; apparently I'm...more

Set in pretty much the same London (a couple decades later) as Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales, the police and criminals of Romer’s Chinatown present an interesting contrast. The stories are not as well crafted, to be sure, nor as innovative. The characters are somewhat less interesting, the...more

Reverend Ronald Knox has set out ten cardinal rules to writing a good detective fiction, and in number 5 is the command: No Chinaman must figure in the story. Sounds really bizarre, doesn't it? Knox explained - "I see no reason in the nature of things why a Chinaman should spoil a detective story...more

NSFS(Not Safe For Snowflakes). Written in the 1920's these group of short stories employ every kind of stereotype imaginable. Those looking for an excuse to be offended will find no shortage of material here. Besides the requisite inscrutable Chinese, there are underhanded Jews, greedy Americans,...more

I like reading old stories. Stories from the 20s and 30s have a different way of being told than stories from today. There are different assumptions regarding what should be common knowledge to the reader, different interactions between men and women, Asians and English, that all play a part in t...more

This has a very personal resonance for me. I go to London's Chinatown often. Today it is squeezed into a pocket of sleazy Soho next to glitzy cinemas and intellectual cafés but when these stories were written it was in Limehouse, a few hundred yards up the river from where I now live and a mile o...more

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