Leaf of the Lotus – Guy Russell (1937)

sascoverLieutenant Pat Gardner drives to the Hawaiian home of Ah Lee Cheng-kai.  A beautiful Chinese woman serves them tea.  Seeing that Gardner likes her, Ah Lee introduces her as Puen T’ang  — oh come on!  Who wrote this, Ian Fleming?

Another white girl as disappeared, the daughter of a officer at Pearl Harbor.  Cheng comments, “White flesh has an irresistible attraction for the mongrel spawn of these brown people.  The misbegotten liliha dogs.

Gardner is investigating the disappearance of several girls.  None ever turn up, even dead.  They just seem to vanish.  Poon Tang pours Gardner another drink but accidentally spills some on him.  Cheng instructs his huge servant — also Flemingly-named Wun Kow — to take her to the quarters below for punishment.  Gardner says this is not necessary, but adds, “I don’t even want to know what you’re going to do to her.”  Add this to the fact that many of Cheng’s wives have disappeared, and we may deduce Gardner is no Charlie Chan; or Erle Stanley.

After a 2-hour meal, Cheng takes Gardner below to watch One Cow mete out the punishment to Poon Tang.  Gardner is stunned to see her hands cuffed above her head, held by a rope and pulley from the ceiling.  She is draped in some sort of “sack-like garment“, that is it is kind of “shapeless“, I mean sort of a “tubular shroud” with some sort of “drawstring” and . . . oh hell, in 5 seconds, she’s naked anyhow.

Her upstretched arms threw every line of her perfect body into bold relief against warm, velvety skin.  From glowing honey-colored breasts down the smooth swell of her stomach, to rounded curving hips, her perfect little body raised the already dangerous temperature of Gardner’s blood to another degree.

One Cow whips her with a 3-foot braided whip.  Gardener tries to stop him, but Cheng assures him that the beating is light.  Her anguish is really at “the lack of a young strong man to assuage her.”  i.e. she just needs a man.  Cheng leaves Gardner alone with Poon Tang, but he is a gentleman and just releases her.

A week later as Gardner is preparing for a swell night of playing Bridge, he learns that his date has disappeared.  He races to Cheng’s house and shoves a .45 in his gut. Cheng knows where the girl is but says he won’t tell Gardner for his own good.  As he is leaving Poon Tang sees him, and tells him Cheng is responsible for all the disappearances.

Poon Tang directs him back to the underground lair. He sees Cheng and One Cow standing beside a “girl’s slender, naked body hanging head-downward from a great hook”.  Gardner shoots Cheng, then sees his erstwhile Bridge partner “alive, clothing stripped from her long smooth thighs and swelling, upthrust breasts”.

One Cow then attacks.  Gardner is able to fight him off, but gets an assist from Poon Tang who stabs him between the shoulder blades, then flees.  Gardner gallantly offers the unclothed girl a raincoat.  Well, after untying her straps . . . explaining to her why Poon Tang wasn’t killed . . . marching her buck-naked up the stairs . . . then totally nude down the driveway . . . and 100% bare-assed down the road . . . to the car where he left his raincoat.

I also imagine a lot of fumbling with keys, and maybe her shivering in a light freezing rain, but that’s really reading between the lines.


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