Friday, 24 August 2012

Yellow Snake by Edgar Wallace

I was looking for a book with Yellow in the title for the color coded challenge. I found a free book in This work is available in public domain for countries where copyright is Life+70. Yellow Snake published in 1926 is first Edgar Wallace book I read. If you haven't guessed from the title, this book is about Chinese- Chinese domination of the world. Yep! Racist, but given the times, I suppose Yellow Peril novels were quite common then. If you could overlook this bit you can have some great fun. I read Yellow Claw by Sax Rohmer last year and it was a great thriller. Everytime I pass Limehouse in London can't help thinking of Opium dens in Yellow Claw.

Now about this book. Stephen Narth's business is close to bankruptcy. He had speculated with his clients' money. Joe Bray, Narth's second cousin, the wealthiest man in China, dies leaving his fortune to Narth on condition that one of his daughters or cousin marry his assistant Clifford Lynne. Both his daughters Letty and Mabel refuse to the condition and decide to sacrifice Joan, the 'Cinderella', who has nil prospects anyway. Joan reluctantly agrees even before seeing Clifford Lynne. Stephen Narth also borrows from Grahame St Clay.

The Narth sisters are happy that they escaped a horrible fate when they meet the eccentric Clifford Lynne, with a long, straggly beard. Joan takes an immediate liking to Clifford despite his appearances. But when Clifford shaves his beard he turns out to be not only best-looking man in China but also the wealthiest man. Could the girls Mabel and Letty let him go off easily?

Grahame St Clay is really crazy and has plans of world domination. To fulfill his mad mission he needs shares of the company owned by Bray and Lynne. He decides to kidnap Joan to coerce Lynne from parting his shares. So what will happen? Will he kidnap Joan? How will Clifford stop Grahame St Clay from taking control of the world?

With twists and turns Yellow Snake is a fun read with some surprises, kidnapping, murders and mistaken identities. Grahame St Clay, a strange name isn't it? His real name is Fing-Su. Oh! A real Yellow Snake does appear in the first few pages of the novel. I didn't expect the book to be such a delightful read.

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