Sunday, January 3, 2016

Review: Fire-Tongue by Sax Rohmer

by Eric

If only Sir Charles Abingdon had confided in Paul Harley right away instead of deciding to reveal the full extent of his fears over dinner the following evening...but he didn't, and is just about to tell all when he dies at the dinner table. Sir Charles' last words are "Fire- Tongue...Nicol Brinn...."

Nicol Brinn is easy enough to find, being a world-famous daredevil hunter and explorer who's been courting death for years in all parts of the globe, but when Harvey mentions Fire-Tongue he is obviously shaken to his core. Yet he too refuses, for the moment at least, to reveal what he knows of Fire-Tongue. Meantime, Harvey meets and falls for Sir Charles' daughter Phyllis and is not thrilled to hear the Persian Ormuz Khan is paying her too much attention, or at least according to views held by British gentlemen on what constitutes proper conduct. It's up to Harvey and Brinn, working with Inspector Wessex and his colleagues, to deduce the mysterious Fire-Tongue's identity and thwart whatever devilish plans he or she is doubtless hatching.

My verdict: Fire-Tongue is curiously subdued for Rohmer. Its solution depends more on deduction and investigation than on fisticuffs, although a chilling chase along a deserted country road and the usual derring-do in an isolated mansion do feature. Part of the back story strays into classic Rohmer territory, which is to say it is more than somewhat far fetched, but here it explains a great deal about a pivotal character. Not a bad read for an idle evening.

E-text: Fire-Tongue by Sax Rohmer

No comments:

Post a Comment