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by Sax Rohmer
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1922. Rohmer, prolific English mystery writer, best known for the master criminal Dr. Fu Manchu and his opponents Denis Nayland Smith, Dr. Petrie, named after the Egyptologist Flinders Petrie, and the beautiful Karamaneh, the source of Petrie's daydreams. Fire-Tongue, the detective Paul Harley is the hero of the tale. The story beings: Some of Paul Harley's most interesting cases were brought to his notice in an almost accidental way. Although he closed his office in Chancery Lane sharply at the hour of six, the hour of six by no means marked the end of his business day. His work was practically ceaseless. But even in times of leisure, at the club or theatre, fate would sometimes cast in his path the first slender thread which was ultimately to lead him into some unsuspected labyrinth, perhaps in the underworld of London, perhaps in a city of the Far East.
His investigation of the case of the man with the shaven skull afforded an instance of this, and even more notable was his first meeting with Major Jack Ragstaff of the Cavalry Club, a meeting which took place after the office had been closed, but which led to the unmasking of perhaps the most cunning murderer in the annals of crime.
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