The Astoria Chinatown Conspiracy

Author: Richard Brian Powers

ISBN 978-1-60264-897-5 (softcover) 

ISBN 978-1-60264-898-2 (eBook)

Pages 364

Richard Brian Powers is a semi-retired psychology professor who still teaches a course in conflict resolution at Portland State University. He has a life-long interest in studying cooperation and in helping students learn to see the world through the eyes of the "other".
After retiring to the Oregon Coast, he discovered the importance of the Chinese immigrant to the Pacific Northwest fishing industry. He also learned how the Chinese struggled to work and live in America aka Gum Shan (Gold Mountain) amid a climate of discrimination and hatred. Many Oregonians have never heard of the Chinese Exclusion Acts (in effect from 1882 to 1943) or of the repression of the Chinese worker during this shameful period in America's history. The Astoria Chinese Conspiracy shows what life might have been like for the Chinese cannery worker during 1886, one of the worst years for the Chinese in the Pacific Northwest.
When not writing fiction, Richard enjoys tennis, clogging, and walking Oregon's beautiful beaches with is wife, Elki. This is his first novel.


Under the battle cry, "The Chinese Must Go," the Knights of Labor expel the Chinese from Tacoma and Seattle and move operations to Portland. During a fishermen's strike, Chinese scabs show up at an Astoria cannery to fish, violating a code that says only white men fish the river. Within days, the Knights of Labor slip into town and scheme to drive the Chinese out. However, if the Chinese are expelled, Astoria's canneries would close as the Chinese do all the inside work.
In this hate-filled climate, a Chinese headman asks Sheriff TJ Stone to investigate the murder of a Chinese grocer. Days later, the body of a young Portland beauty is found floating in the Columbia River. The murders appear to be linked but the chief suspect, Chen Hop Li, appears to have no reason to kill the woman.
As TJ struggles to solve the murders before racial hatred destroys the town, he tangles with two powerful men locked in battle for Oregon's senate seat: Ambrose Jameson, cannery owner, and Paul Purcell, Portland Police Commissioner, TJ is claustrophobic, which proves and extreme handicap when he descends into Portland's underground tunnels to hunt for the killer.

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