ffb: The Dragon of Lung Wang

this is the 156th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

The Dragon of Lung Wang by Marion Harvey (Edward J. Clode), 1928 hardcover, mystery

“The taxi slipped like a silvern beast along the pathway of it’s lamps. Within, David Corrigan fanned himself with his straw hat, oppressed by a distinct premonition of catastrophe.”

Dragon of Lung WangDavid Corrigan returns to America after a long period abroad to find his ward, Claudia Reeve, with whom he has been in love for years, about to marry a disreputable man who is only after her considerable fortune. A small black jade dragon is a clue discovered beside a murdered woman in the garden during a fancy dress ball. The suitor, an actress, the ward’s brother, a mysterious Chinese servant and several others are suspected. Corrigan works with Inspector Aimes to solve the crime. This is real Twenties stuff, such as the Inspector asking a woman where she was at a particular time and her answer that of course, she can’t tell him. The Inspector accepts that, understanding that a lady shouldn’t have to tell.

After the second murder, Inspector Aimes decides he must consult private citizen Graydon McKelvie, who is able to solve the most baffling cases. McKelvie is a sort-of Holmes and at this point Corrigan becomes a Watson character, accompanying the private investigator on his search for the truth.

There is a lot of driving around and interviewing people, but McKelvie’s discovery of a hidden passageway in the walls of an apartment building reveal how Wan Lee’s daughter – or someone – was able to pass into an apartment without being seen by the policemen watching the front door. But does that reveal the killer? The handsome attorney could have done it, but he loved the girl. Everyone else seems to have an alibi. One by one McKelvie interviews the suspects and assembles the clues, and then identifies the murderer. While this book isn’t easily obtainable, it is enjoyable reading.

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More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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15 Responses to ffb: The Dragon of Lung Wang

  1. Sounds interesting. May look for this one.

  2. Thanks Rich – not a title I’ve come across before – but it does soud like lots of fun – but if hard to find, then in the interim I’ll make do withy Charlie Chan movies and the odd Sax Rohmer 🙂

  3. macavityabc says:

    A “silvern beast”? You can’t go wrong with writing like that.

  4. Love the cover! Very Fu Manchu-ish!

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Never heard of this but it does like like Fu Manchu.

    Hitherto undisclosed secret passages are not allowed, however, though they are certainly a feature of most Charlie Chan movies.

  6. Richard says:

    Randy, I enjoyed this quite a bit. Classic, fairly light, entertaining. Someone needs to reprint it.

  7. Richard says:

    Sergio, I only wish the Chan movies were less comedy and more like the Biggers books. You could always try library inter loan, who knows?

  8. Richard says:

    Bill, yep, that’s a cool sentence. The entire book isn’t quite so smooth, but it’s pretty good.

  9. Richard says:

    George, It seems to be the only printing, and only cover, the book has had. No doubt the publisher was trying to cash in on the Fu Manchu popularity of the time.

  10. Richard says:

    Jeff, I know about the secret passage “rule”, but in this case it wasn’t really a cheat. Well, not too much. The reader has to decide if it’s a real clue or a red herring.

  11. Richard, I plead ignorance. I’d never heard of Marion Harvey (Edward J. Clode) before but I’m glad to have made his acquaintance. Inspector Aimes sounds every bit the traditional sleuth, the “twenties stuff” as you mentioned.

  12. I like that piece of prose from it.

  13. John says:

    Wow, Rick, you’ve entered my territory here. I’d never expect to read about Marion Harvvey outside of Mystery*File. I doubt anyone will be able to find a copy of this unless its in a POD reprint somewhere. I bought a copy years ago. From Powell’s in Portland in fact! Did you find yours there too, Rick? I have this and all the other Graydon McKelvie detective novels. He’s another arrogant detective that seemed to be so popular in the 1920s. Not a very likeable fellow at all if you read the other books. Insulting every one left and right, so full of himself. I remember two of them. One –THE HOUSE OF SECLUSION is about the murder of an Egyptologist reminiscent of Van Dine. Aspires to creepy but falls short. Ludicrous ending, too. Another, set in Brazil if I remember correctly, is called VENGEANCE OF THE IVORY SKULL. Very intriguing with its quasi supernatural elements and the cursed object motif. If anyone wants to read about the adventures of Graydon McKelvie that one is probably the easiest of Harvey’s books to find.

  14. Richard says:

    John, I wondered if this one would bring you to comment. There seem to be a couple of very pricey copies available, one with dustcover for $75, but that’s out of most budgets. I got mine (no dust cover) at a small used mystery bookstore in southern California in the early 1990s for about $8. After reading it a few years later – this is an old review from my mystery fanzine, The Perp, slightly updated – I passed it along as I didn’t think I’d read it again. I didn’t think that arrogance came to the fore so much in this one, but perhaps I took it in stride along with the Twenties settings et. al. There was no shortage of ego in the detectives, official and private, in those days.

  15. Evan Lewis says:

    I know Edward J. Clode was a fine publisher, because they did a couple of my favorite Race Williams novels. But Marion Harvey is a mystery. Male or female? Any clue? I see the ebook is available free from Project Gutenberg,

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