The e-book image shown above depicts Fu Manchu (for once, depicted as he is in the novel, with no mustache) alongside a female character. Though this character is not Fu's famous daughter, I referenced Fu's association with his offspring in my study of the 1971 Bat-story "The Demon Lives Again:"
In his early adventures Fu Manchu has no daughter. That said, the first story-arc introduces a femme fatale, Karameneh, and when Doctor Petrie asks who she might be, Fu’s perpetual opponent Nayland Smith speculates that she might be the arch-fiend’s own spawn.Whereas some authors, such as Conan Doyle, wrote a lot of stories without significant female characters, Rohmer usually did include women in his tales, albeit almost exclusively as romantic interests for male heroes. In INSIDIOUS, viewpoint character Doctor Petrie follows his old friend Nayland Smith during a murder investigation. Petrie happens upon a mysterious Asian-looking woman who is later revealed to be the unwilling slave of Fu Manchu. Karameneh, whose name means "slave" in her native Arabic, falls immediately in love with Petrie and he with her. In Petrie's case, he seems enthralled by her combination of both "white" and "non-white" aspects, for she has "the skin of a perfect blonde" yet also "had eyes and lashes as black as a Creole's." Throughout the novel Karameneh, though superficially loyal to her Chinese master, stealthily works to keep Petrie (and, incidentally, Nayland Smith) from being killed by the devil-doctor's devices. Early in the novel, Petrie questions his friend about Karameneh's status, and Nayland Smith says:
She is either Fu-Manchu's daughter, his wife, or his slave. I am inclined to believe the last, for she has no will but his will, except-- in a certain instance.
By "certain instance" the policeman means that Karameneh has acquired some will as a result of her amour fou with Petrie. Nayland Smith underestimates Karameneh's resourcefulness, though, as she saves the two Englishmen time and time again, and in one case she even anticipates Fu Manchu's famed skills for disguises, making herself up as a male Chinese hunchback (!) It may be argued that Rohmer simply wanted to give his heroes an inside ally, given that they were so heavily overmatched in their encounters with the malevolent mastermind. The idea that she may be Fu's daughter is never seriously entertained, given that there's no resemblance between the two characters. Yet Karameneh's constant interference with the plans of her master bears some similarity to standard tropes in which a lovelorn damsel aids her romantic swain against her overly domineering father. (Shakespeare's MERCHANT OF VENICE is perhaps the best known use of the trope.) Rohmer gets a little humor out of a scene in which the slave-woman outright tells Petrie that she will betray her master if only Petrie would "master" her and force her to talk, and Nayland Smith wryly dubs this one of the mysteries of the Oriental mind:
... she would adore you [Petrie] for your savagery, deeming you forceful and strong!In a late section of the novel, Karameneh is further redeemed when it's revealed that she has a brother, also one of Fu's slaves, and that Fu holds his life hostage against the woman's good behavior. Petrie provides some minor aid in liberating the brother (who I believe is not seen again in the novel-series), and thus Karameneh is free to desert her master. In a later novel she marries Petrie and is only seen sporadically thereafter, which may be the main reason she appears rarely if at all in film or TV adaptations of the Fu Manchu stories.
Though the character's resourcefulness is her most appealing trait, in the book's first chapter she too is briefly caricatured with the trope of "Oriental death." The first case investigated by the English heroes is one in which a man dies, and Petrie discerns on the victim's hand "a faint red mark, not unlike the imprint of painted lips." A few pages later, when he meets Karameneh, he wonders if the "bloom of her red lips" bears any relation to the red mark on the murdered man. Yet this association with a poisonous insect is as close as Rohmer comes to demonizing this particular Asian, and for the rest of the novel Karameneh remains eminently sympathetic. Rohmer may have been a little more comfortable with Asians from the Middle East than the Far East, although it's my recollection that when the author does introduce Fah Lo Suee, Fu's genuine half-Chinese daughter, she too remains sympathetic despite her inability to win free from her "heavy father."