Dr. C.W. Doyle. The Shadow of Quong Lung (1900) 267 pp.
A “yellow peril” novel (told in a series of interconnected episodes) chronicling the evil career of the sadistic and powerful Quong Lung in San Francisco’s Chinatown underworld. Portions of the book originally appeared in 1897 and 1898 as prize-winning short stories in the San Francisco Examiner and the Argonaut. Quong Lung’s pastimes include extortion, kidnapping, subversion of the Chinese Exclusion Act, slavery, prostitution, revenge, and murder. Late in the book, it is revealed that Quong Lung is Yale-educated. Coincidence? Although many Chinese characters are portrayed sympathetically as innocent victims, insight into the author’s point of view can be found in a brief but telling preface: “This book does not set forth to be that detestable thing, a ‘book with a purpose’; but if it should incidentally draw attention to the terrible conditions of life of the slave girls in Chinatown, and if any amelioration of those conditions should ensue, I shall feel that I have not written in vain … Of course, the best thing to do with Chinatown would be to burn it down; but the scheme is too Utopian to be discussed in a mere preface.” Be careful what you wish for, Dr. Doyle.
Setting: San Francisco (Chinatown)
Baird & Greenwood 685