The Voice Of Káli by by Sax Rohmer
What was the horrible something from the mysterious East that threatened the life of Van Dean and brought Harley of the Foreign Office down to this peaceful English countryside to solve the deadly problem or perish?
The Voice Of Káli (1923) – What was the horrible something from the mysterious East that threatened the life of Van Dean and brought Harley of the Foreign Office down to this peaceful English countryside to solve the deadly problem or perish? They called it the Listening Death. But how did it kill? And why? In the answer to this last lay the greatest horror of all.
The shadowy S Group will stop at nothing to destroy those in their way or those who might reveal their presence.
Chapter I – A Man Unknown
Chapter II – Káli
Chapter III – The Locked Door
Chapter IV – The Mandarin K
Chapter V – Scientific Murder
Chapter VI – The Light On The Tower
Chapter VII – The Shadow Of A Cowl
Chapter VIII – Hidden Ears And Strange Sounds
Chapter IX – Joyce Comes In
Chapter X – The Intruder
Chapter XI – In The Library
Chapter XII – The Sound
Chapter XIII – The Phantom Cyclist
Chapter XIV – The Listening Death
Chapter XV – One Who Passed By
Chapter XVI – The Tower
Ward was born in Birmingham, England to a working class family. He got his start in writing as a poet, songwriter, and comedy sketch writer for music hall performers.
In 1912, as he began writing the Fu-Manchu stories, Ward began using the pseudonym Sax Rohmer.
The Voice Of Káli has 35 illustrations.
Excerpt: The Voice Of Káli
A Man Unknown
THE Coroner’s jury, their unpleasant task concluded, filed out of the extemporized courtroom and with almost military precision filed on into the bar parlor of the Three Fishes Inn.
It was near to sunset on a perfect summer’s day. High up in the elms at the back of the ancient inn there was much busy chattering from the feathered colony, as though already they were discussing their southern journey. Rooks cawed unmusically; and a red glow spread further and further, right and left of the wood on a neighboring hill, beyond which the sun sank gloriously to rest.
A group of farm laborers homeward bound had collected in the porch of the old inn, to gather news of the excitement which had come to stir the life of this sleepy Norfolk village. The jurymen, conscious of their prestige, nodded distantly to acquaintances and entered the bar parlor to drink the traditional pint with the landlord. Curious glances were cast at the only stranger present.
This was a leanly built, brown-faced man, whose air of eager vitality must have told even the most inexperienced yokel that here was no ordinary personality. He had listened attentively to the recent proceedings, closely studying all the witnesses. And now, looking about him for a moment, he singled out a florid-faced individual whom everybody else treated with the utmost respect and who seemed to be fully conscious of the fact that he deserved it.
“Ah, Inspector Gorleston,” he said, “I thought you had gone.”
“No, sir,” replied the inspector, “not yet. I wanted another word with you. You see, my professional reputation is at stake, if you follow me.”
“I quite understand your anxiety, Inspector. A whisky and soda?”
“Thanks,” said the inspector, leaning on the counter. “I can do with it. This thing has rattled me.” He glanced about him and then bent forward confidentially. “You see,” he whispered, “when Mr. Burton van Dean applied to us at Scotland Yard for protection, we did our best. We had a special man put on duty at his place —the Abbey. What happened?” The inspector took a drink and answered his own question. “Scotland Yard instructs us to take him off! And what’s the result? Here’s this poor fellow the coroner’s just been sitting on, comes and dies right there in the Abbey shrubbery!”
The inspector glared in choleric fashion, as if highly irritated at his companion’s quiet acceptance of his concluding statement.
“Well,” he demanded belligerently, “he wouldn’t have died if Jones had been on duty, would he?”
“Oh, I see the point!” murmured his acquaintance.
“As you’ve just heard, the verdict was ‘death from natural causes, man unknown.’ But was it my fault, sir?”
“Not at all.”
“Some half-starved tramp he was,” continued the inspector bitterly. “Yet, since it happened, Scotland Yard has ordered us not to come within a mile of the Abbey!” The other nodded sympathetically. “They think we’re country jossers because we live in Norfolk. And because a tramp dies in my district, I’m told I’m unfit to look after a gentleman whose life is in danger.”
“Then you really think Mr. Van Dean’s life is in danger?”
Inspector Gorleston bent more closely forward and with a fat forefinger he tapped his acquaintance confidentially on the shoulder.
“I’ve got two eyes, sir! Two good eyes! And there’s something funny about that house.”
“About the Abbey?”
“About the Abbey, sir. Funny lights have been seen there. Also the figure of a monk. Funny noises have been heard.”
“What sort of noises?” asked the other.
“Well, sir, as you’re staying there, perhaps you’ve heard them yourself. A kind of piping, for instance?”
“Oh,” said the other, and his rather grim face relaxed in a quick smile, “that is caused by Wu Chang, Mr. Van Dean’s Chinese servant. What other noises?”
“Well, sir, you heard two witnesses speak of the fact that a sort of wailing sound was heard the night that this unknown man died there in the shrubbery.”
“Yes, I took particular note of this evidence. You see, I had not arrived at the Abbey at the time of the man’s death.” And the speaker’s glance became introspective, as though he were contemplating some new idea which had just occurred to him.
“Altogether, it’s a funny house,” continued the inspector. “Of course, Mr. Van Dean is an American gentleman, and very eccentric. But how Mrs. Moody can go on living there beats me. Still, I’m here if I’m wanted. I expect to be wanted very soon.”
His companion seemed to have lost interest in the conversation, however. And shortly afterward, bidding the inspector good day, the stranger left the Three Fishes and set out along the dusty road, a lean, active figure in his well cut blue serge, swinging an ash stick and puffing so vigorously at his briar that a positive wake of tobacco smoke spread out behind him as he went.
Curious glances followed him, for few strangers visited the inn, but Inspector Gorleston pompously announced that the gentleman was a guest staying at the Abbey, and this minor interest soon became swamped in the greater one of the tragedy that day investigated by the coroner.
Nevertheless, the worthy sensation-mongers in the Three Fishes would have found their interest revived had one of their number been curious enough to follow the stranger for three hundred yards along the road. At a ragged gap in a blackberry hedge, he paused. He knocked out his pipe on the heel of his shoe and looked cautiously around him. Then, “Are you there, Wessex?” he asked.
“Here I am,” replied a voice from some place beyond the hedge. “Any instructions?”
“Yes. Where have you left the bike?”
“In the lane at the other side of the meadow.”
“Then fly back. I’ll walk slowly in order to give you a good start.”
“Good,” replied the voice.
Came a sound of moving foliage, of stumbling footsteps; and then silence.
Probably it would have conveyed nothing to the local worthies assembled at the Three Fishes had they been informed that the distinguished looking visitor who had so closely followed the coroner’s inquiry and who now was proceeding once more along the dusty road was none other than Paul Harley of Chancery Lane, London.
Affairs of state, involving possibilities of war, had more than once been entrusted to his experience. East and West he was known as the confidential agent of the highest powers. But here, in this forgotten corner of Norfolk, he was known merely as a guest of Mr. Van Dean, the American millionaire traveler who had leased the Abbey, one of the county’s historical properties.
Paul Harley, however, was no seeker of notoriety. The nature of his profession rendered it inadvisable that he should attract public attention.
Now, as he paced along the narrow road, with the rays of the setting sun behind him, he became aware of an unaccountable chill, despite the genial warmth of the evening. That is to say, he experienced a chill which would have been unaccountable in another, but which, in himself, Paul Harley had learned to recognize as a sixth sense. This abrupt lowering of the temperature had often before advised him of the nearness of hidden danger.
Excerpt From: Sax Rohmer. “The Voice of Káli.”
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