American readers will rarely see these two thrillers from the 30s by Britain's Roland Daniel. THE SIGNAL (1933) begins with a rich man receiving in the mail five beans (!) just before he's dispatched with a pistol by an unknown hand. Sounds like something Harry Stephen Keeler might have opined. And Fu Manchu has nothing on the inscrutable and titular Wu Fang, whose sordid machinations threaten a young American woman, her Secret Service beau, his cockney sidekick and Superintendent Bill Saville of the Yard. The wily celestial, introduced in 1934, has picked up some new tortures by 1937, and can't wait to try them on the whole crowd.
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Roland Daniel wrote at least 136 thrillers between 1928 and 1966, some of them still around in the UK and Australia, but most of them are hard to find in the US. His style was straightforward and at times plodding but he knew how to keep the subject matter interesting. A list of his titles shows his predilection for dope, spiders, the yellow peril, murder and later, when Spillane came along, dames.
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