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Marshall, Victor. Victor Marshall was created by E. Charles Vivian (Inspector Byrne, Rex Coulson, Gees, Inspector Head) and appeared in Fields of Sleep (1923) and People of the Darkness (1924).
Adventurer Victor Marshall, who is an expert on Malaysia and its peoples and languages, is hired by a French woman to find Clement Delarey, her son. Delarey went into the wilds of Malaysia in search of treasure and did not return. Mme. Delarey has sent other men after her son, but they too have not returned. Mme Delarey has a stepdaughter Stephanie, and if Delarey is dead she will inherit the Delarey fortune. Stephanie offers Marshall a quarter of the fortune if he can prove that Delarey is dead and if he will protect her while he is searching for Delarey. (Mme. Delarey treats Stephanie badly, and Marshall’s protection is needed). Marshall agrees and marries Stephanie.
Marshall begins his search and discovers that Clement has gone looking for the forbidden land of Mah-Eng and its Valley of Silent Men. Marshall follows, and when his retreat is blocked by deadly land crabs he pushes forward and finds Mah-Eng. One of Marshall’s predecessors, who lives in the hills above the Valley of the Silent Men, explains to Marshall that outsiders can enter Mah-Eng but not leave, and that the land crabs and giant spiders are the Valley’s guardians. Marshall goes into the Valley and discovers the reason for its name: a plant grows in the valley whose scent is attractive and addictive, and which causes the parathyroid gland to atrophy (so that those in the valley can only talk in whispers). Those deprived of the plant’s scent die within a few hours.
The Mah-Eng are a Lost Race of Babylonians, and they value Marshall as a man of high quality, but he wants to escape and return home, and after a dam disaster and Clement Delarey running amok, Marshall does so. He falls in love with Stephanie as well, so their marriage is consummated and happy. In the sequel Stephanie dies in childbirth, Marshall decides to return to Mah-Eng, and he discovers a subterranean complex which contains the other half of the Mah-Eng population.
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