Saturday, April 29, 2017

Paperback 988: The Trail of Fu Manchu / Sax Rohmer (Pyramid R-1003)

Paperback 988: Pyramid R-1003 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: The Trail of Fu Manchu
Author: Sax Rohmer
Cover artist: Robert Maguire (credited as "Bob Maguire")

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Psst, guys, he's up there ... up ... to your right ... your ... my left ... up ...
  • "I say, old man, is he in there?" "I'm afraid not." "Perhaps if you put down your brolly..." "No, I think not." "Well, we've done all we can. Tea?"
  • This cover has all the drama and suspense of two dapper gents opening a green box.
  • I like the inverted male gaze here—instead of two guys ogling naked lady statues, we have naked lady statues ogling two guys.
  • It's not one of Maguire's more memorable covers, but Maguire is Maguire is Maguire; I'll take it.
  • My wife got me this book at The Last Bookstore in L.A., which sounds Uh-mazing.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Blah blah pulp cliche / orientalist nonsense
  • But Nay!
  • This was quite the franchise. I have never read any of these. Wonder if it's worth it...

Page 123~

"We are in part of the workings of an abandoned Thames tunnel. We are together because . . . we are going to die together."

See, I know I'm supposed to be rapt by the dramatic final utterance here, but all I can think of is "Why the hell is 'part of the workings of' in that first sentence!? Do you enjoy murdering sentences? Do You!?"


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-> Ray said...

It is well worth it. The Rohmer's Fu Manchu books fit neatly as the literary missing link between Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Fleming's James Bond.

DemetriosX said...

I've read a few of them. They're not bad as long as you take into account that there's going to be a fair bit of Yellow Peril, Orientalism, and the like.

My real problem with the cover is the way the two guys are dressed. Much too modern. Although most of the Fu Manchu books were written from the 30s to the 50s, the series started in the period right before WWI and always feels like that is when it's set. The guy with the umbrella looks more like Archie Goodwin than Nayland Smith.