Mr. Chang was Canada’s version of Mr. Fu Manchu, a character created by Sax Rohmer. He was created by Elmer Albert Apple, a gentleman who hailed from Cleveland Ohio, moved to Canada and married Beatrice Muriel Nixon. The family lived in the Beaches in East Toronto and had one child Barney. E.A. wrote a syndicated column "The Referee" and also True Romances under a pseudonym. He created a number of sinister Mr. Chang and Mr. Rafferty stories in the 1920s and 1930s for Detective Story Magazine and republished in best Detective Magazine with different cover illustrations. The family lived on eleven acres on Gordon Point in Muskoka, and Barney remembers his father going to the shed in the back of the house which he called the jail to do his writing. His mother edited the work before submitting the manuscripts for publication. Barney remembers visiting San Diego and San Francisco with his father to research the Chinese tongs for his creative writing. Many of the stories feature Chang finding his victims in rural and Northern Ontario, and his headquarters was in Montreal, Quebec.
E.A. disappeared in the mid-30s. It was reported that he committed suicide in the pulps, but this was incorrect. Barney, his son relates that his father separated from his mother and moved back to Cleveland to be with his family, and lived at a large institution in the Cleveland area as head gardener, and didn’t do any more writing. Barney remembers visiting Cleveland with his mother, and E.A. passed away in the early 1950s.
The idea to collect this series originated with Randy Vanderbeek of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He knew the Battered Box liked to do stories by Canadian authors. In addition many of these stories were set in Canada as well.
As the bibliographic data was assembled it was clear that this would be a large project occupying some five folio sized volumes. When the project was almost complete I received an e-mail from the author’s grandson Derek, who noted that his father Barney was still alive and lived with his sister Heather in British Columbia. Derek noted that they grew up in Uxbridge Ontario and moved to B.C. after the death of their grandmother who maintained an large archive in the basement of their home. The archive unfortunately did not survive the trip out west. There was still a trunk upstairs in the attic with some old pulp magazines and one book.
The two stories you have in your hands were published separately after their appearance in Best Detective Magazine. Both are inventive, but the one involves Science Fiction which may become reality 100 years later.
E.A. Apple created a second villain – Mr. Rafferty which is Canada’s version of "Raffles," a character created by E.W. Hornung, a gentleman crook, with some of the characteristics of Robin Hood, but not many!