"The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu” is the second of the 14 novels featuring the clever battle of minds and wills between Sir Denis Nayland Smith and Fu-Manchu. There is, of course, our narrator, Dr. Petrie, and the mysterious woman returns as well: the beautiful Egyptian, Karamaneh, whose allegiance is often unclear. In fact, Smith and Petrie often are able to survive Fu Manchu's clever schemes or traps through some last minute twist, or by almost "divine" intervention by that beautiful temptress Karamaneh, for whom poor Petrie desires!
"The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu," or "The Devil Doctor," is packed with fast-moving action and bizarre adventures which will keep the reader turning the pages. After a mysterious death, inspector Nayland Smith warns Petrie that Fu Manchu is about. Together they investigate and try to prevent a string of exotic murders and thwart Fu Manchu's plans. Fu-Manchu's plots involve lethal poisons, kidnappings, vicious animals, quicksand, a haunted house, rat torture, murderous minions, and torture device called the Gates of Joyful Wisdom. It's amazing how much action and adventure is packed into a novel.
Perhaps a bit "trite" in spots and at times with a feel of the "pulp fiction" genre, nevertheless, the series is surprisingly well written. Sax Rohmer wrote the Fu Manchu stories between 1912 and the late 1950s. Rohmer's creation of the sinister, evil genius, Fu Manchu, rivals Doyle's Professor Moriarty as an icon of en evil, genius, mastermind. Rohmer's work also appears to bridge the mystery genre from Holmes to Christie's Poirot and Bigger's Charlie Chan books. Sax Rohmer is most famous for creating the infamous character of Fu Manchu who later became even more famous in the black and white movies of the 30's. Fu Manchu was portrayed in various films by Boris Karloff in the 1930's. The Fu Manchu novels are worth the time to discover the great, intellectual (and stereotypical) evil genius who is Fu Manchu.