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Kham, Chin Kwang. Chin Kwang Kham was created by “Richard Foster,” the pseudonym of Ken Crossen (Mortimer Death, Green Lama, Necessary Smith), and appeared in The Laughing Buddha Murders (1944) and The Invisible Man Murders (1945).

Chin Kwang Kham is a short, squat private detective. He is “probably America’s only Tibetan detective, being half owner of a New York and Los Angeles detective agency. The other half was owned by beautiful, red-headed Kay Barrett.” The agency specializes in crimes involving precious stones, but in their published adventures they solve murders. Kham was born and raised in America but he had been educated in the University of Trashilhumpo in Tibet, as well as in American universities, and Kham is quite capable of assuming the Inscrutable Oriental pose and uttering pseudo-profound mock-Confucian cliches. Kham is clever and a capable stage magician.

* I'm including the Chin Kwang Kham novels in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because they're fun mysteries. Crossen was a talented writer who knew how to craft a good mystery novel filled with appealing people, and Kham is one of his best creations, a thoroughly unstereotypical and non-racist East Asian detective of wit and charm. In a world of knockoff mysteries, the two Chin Kwang Kham novels stand apart as an attempt at something new. 

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