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The Six Deaths of Dr Kang (Death in China)

Short Story (1,700 words)

The first of a series called “The dramatic deaths of Dr. Kang”, all published first in the Evening Standard and its sister papers, then in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Dr Kang is the quintessential 'wily oriental', and in each story he is engaged in some illegal activity, becomes the object of violence, but escapes by a combination of sharp observation and good fortune, while somebody else dies in his place.

In the first story newly graduated as a doctor of philosophy, Kang is keen to leave Peking and go to Canton where he has a chance to make money in the opium trade. On a wet day he calls on the Ho-Min brothers to bargain for an embroidered coat. The brothers are out, but he talks to their sister who threatens to tell her brothers about Kang having seduced her some months before, so that either he must marry her or they will kill him. He tells her he will come back the next day to tell her brothers that he will marry her. The brothers return, Kang buys the coat, and goes to get a ticket for Canton. At the university club he engages in a gambling game with another student, an old enemy. He loses and must forfeit the embroidered coat. Was this deliberate, and what does it lead to?


Evening Standard, Monday 20th February 1956. Page 17.
Reprinted in the Glasgow Evening Citizen on 27th February 1956, and as "Death in China", Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, August 1957.