The Mystic Mullah – Where was Tanan?

For a long time, I wondered where the mysterious country Tanan was actually located. This is the kingdom of the Nizam as seen in “The Mystic Mullah.” Lester Dent seems to have made a practice of using real places as the basis for many of the locations throughout the series.

Initially, I found an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch (Sunday, April 15, 1934) that dealt with the human spiders in Afghanistan. I thought that Tanan must be some nearby country.  That was incorrect although the human spiders found their way into Dent’s story.

But Dent tells us early on exactly where Tanan is located – beyond Outer Mongolia. It happens that such a place existed named Tannu Tuva at the time the story was first published.

The Burlington Free Press, Monday, February 5, 1934