Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward (1883-1959) was a prolific writer, but is best remembered for his Fu Manchu novels. His first story, The Mysterious Mummy was published in 1903. It wasn’t until 1912 that Fu Manchu made his appearance in the serialized The Mystery of Fu Manchu. It was a huge success from the beginning. Three Fu Manchu books and many other recurring detective series (Paul Harley, Morris Klaw, Red Kerry, and Gaston Max) made Rohmer one of the most successful writers of the 1920’s-1930’s. Rohmer wished to retire Fu Manchu after the third book, but he eventually caved to pressure and resumed the series in 1931. Eventually, the series would total 13 books (more were released and even written after his death).
It is impossible to write about Rohmer without mentioning the inherent racism found throughout much of his work. Sadly, this is seen throughout many contemporary writers of Rohmer, as well. The anti-Asian feeling was common in the U.S. during the time and is reflected in too many books and stories of the late 1910’s through the late 1920’s.
The Devil Doctor (1916)