The Carleton Case Letter

Letter to a columnist for the London Opinion dated January 22, 1919
(from the collection of Robert E. Briney
The Rohmer Review No. 9, August 1972))



51 - Herne Hill

Dear Looker - On -

            Thanks for your paragraph about the
"Dope" book, but actually it was on the stocks
long before the Carleton Case brought the matter
so prominently before the public. The increasing
drug habit has had my attention for some time
past & knowing of the link existing between certain
purveyers frequenting the night clubs & like resorts-
& Limehouse, I saw an opportunity for a dramatic
& strongly contrasted novel. Some of my inquiries
have brought to light very odd facts respecting this
traffic, the increase in which I ascribe to the spirit

               All good wishes
                            & my being yours,
                            Sax Rohmer
Jan. - 22 - 19


"In a letter to the London Opinion dated January 22, 1919 (and reproduced in THE ROHMER REVIEW #9, August 1972), Rohmer explicitly denies that DOPE was based on the Carleton case. He claims the story was 'on the stocks' before the case became public. He would have to be referring to the magazine publication, which began in the March 1919 issue of THE NEW MAGAZINE (which would have been on sale by mid-January). The Prefatory Note (dated June 1919) in the British book editions, also disclaims the connection with the Carleton case. Of course, it may well be that the author 'doth protest too much.'" Robert E. Briney (Email, March 12, 1998)

When transcribed in The Rohmer Review, the last sentence begins, "Some further inquiries..." but a letter from Cay Van Ash in issue No. 10 begins,

For me, Rohmer Review #9 had some poignantly nostalgic moments. I felt pleased and at the same time sad to see Sax's personal scarab and typically illegible handwriting. You did a commendable job of transcription with, I think, only one errot. The character in line 9 transcribed as "further" should really be "of my".

When reproduced in The Rohmer Review, the final salutation was transcribed as "All good wishes, Very Truly Yours," but I think it looks more like "& my being yours."

I leave both of the above to you to decide.

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Copyright 1997, 1998 Lawrence Knapp. All rights reserved.