The following is an excerpt from a full review on the strangeamusements blog:
My knowledge of Sax Rohmer and his iconic villain, Dr. Fu-Manchu, has sadly been very limited until recently when I got my hands on a new edition of the hundred-year-old tales just released by Titan Books-The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu. This first volume is composed of a long series of action-packed mysteries that feature the first stories to contain the fiendish villain and the cat-and-mouse exploits he engages in with the heroes, Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie, two investigators cut from the cloth of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. And now that I've actually taken the time to go on these adventures, I'm left to wonder about why the hell haven't I read these before.
For the most part, the stories are arranged in such a way that the whole experience feels like a novel composed of short episodes. In each grouping of tales, Smith and Petrie are presented with a murder or an attempted murder or kidnapping that is somehow unexplainable to the traditional law enforcement of the time. Together, they follow the clues that always lead to the nefarious Fu-Manchu, a villain who also serves as a symbol of the "yellow peril," or Western fear of Chinese encroachment. All of the victims share a common thread--they are all educated and influential persons with ties to political or scientific advancements involving China. Fu-Manchu, it seems, is slowly trying to eliminate them so that the eastern empire can grow.
The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu is completely packed with action and horror from the first page to the last. At nearly every turn, Smith and Petrie find themselves in another terrifying predicament. There are tons of fantastic set pieces, like a foggy moor, a hidden castle, an opium den on the water, and there are all manner of strange things happening, such as people dying inside rooms locked from the inside or appearing dead but actually being in strange sedation. There are many things that will seem unreal, and there are plenty of things to chill your blood, including unearthly howls in the night. In the end, everything you love as a genre reader of horror, action, and mystery is here in excess supply.
This new edition is also nicely presented with a good biographical piece about the author and an essay that offers a foundation for the cultural significance of the work, especially in light of world politics and how the view of Chinese culture was shaped during the time in which these tales were composed. If you're looking for some fun and thrilling text written in an old-fashioned tone, but with a timeless vibe, The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu is a no-brainier addition to your collection.