Dope: 'She seemed to be in a dangerously high-strung condition'' by Sax Rohmer

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Dope: 'She seemed to be in a dangerously high-strung condition''

Sax Rohmer was born on February 15th, 1883 as Arthur Henry Sarsfield in Birmingham to working class parents.

Rohmer started his career as a civil servant but soon had ambitions to write full time.

Not content with just fiction he wrote poetry, songs as well as comedy sketches for music hall performers. From these varied beginnings he reinvented himself as Sax Rohmer.

He first published in 1903, age 20, with the short story ‘The Mysterious Mummy’ which was published in the magazine Pearson’s Weekly.

Rohmer published his first book Pause! anonymously in 1910 and followed this, in 1911, with a stint as ghost-writer on the autobiography of Little Tich, the famous music hall entertainer.

The serialization of his first Fu Manchu novel, The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu, from October 1912 to June 1913 brought him instant success.

The first three Fu Manchu books were published in the four years 1913–1917. Rohmer then put the character on hiatus whilst he attended to other works and characters. It was only after a 14-year absence in 1931 that Rohmer added a fourth to the series with The Daughter of Fu Manchu.

The incredible commercial success of Fu Manchu had brought Rohmer both fame and fortune and he wanted to use both to allow him to explore and create other characters as well as other interests.

Rohmer also wrote several novels of supernatural horror, including Brood of the Witch-Queen, which has been described as Rohmer's masterpiece.

Unfortunately, despite his ability to generate income, Rohmer was very poor at managing his wealth and made several very poor business decisions that hobbled him throughout his career.

His final success came with a series of novels featuring a female variation on Fu Manchu, Sumuru. This series would run to five novels.

After World War II, Rohmer and his wife moved to New York, only returning to London shortly before his death. Sax Rohmer died on June 1st, 1959, due to an outbreak of influenza, ironically named "Asian Flu".

Publisher: Copyright Group ISBN: 9781787803787 Pages: 203