“The Purple Heart of Erlik” is a tale of deception, intrigue, and violence, showcasing the darker aspects of human nature against the backdrop of Shanghai’s seedy underbelly. The story follows Arline Ellis, a woman blackmailed by Duke Tremayne into stealing a precious ruby, the Heart of Erlik, from Woon Yuen, a Chinese merchant with a sinister reputation. Arline’s mission takes a dangerous turn, leading to an unexpected alliance with Wild Bill Clanton, a rough yet resourceful sailor.

The narrative, rich in the atmosphere of its era, showcases themes of deceit, survival, and the quest for redemption against the backdrop of 1930s Shanghai.

It was published by Spicy-Adventure Stories under the name Sam Walser. The story was sold for $26.00 to Trojan by Otto Binder, Kline’s New York representative circa December 1935. Also see “The Purple Heart of Erlik (Untitled Synopsis)“.

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The story

“The Purple Heart of Erlik” unfolds with Arline Ellis caught in the grasp of Duke Tremayne, who blackmails her over a past incident involving the death of a Japanese official. Under threat, she is coerced into attempting to steal the coveted Purple Heart of Erlik ruby from the antique dealer Woon Yuen.

Posing as the affluent Lady Elizabeth Willoughby, Arline gains entry to Woon Yuen’s exclusive inner chamber. Her plan to drug Woon Yuen and snatch the ruby fails when she realizes she has drugged a decoy instead. The true Woon Yuen, having anticipated her scheme, confronts Arline. In a twisted turn of events, she becomes his victim, only to be discarded in an alleyway afterward.

In her moment of despair, Wild Bill Clanton discovers her. Clanton, a rugged sailor previously enamored with Arline, offers protection and schemes to confront Tremayne. Their confrontation is interrupted by Woon Yuen’s arrival, intent on killing Clanton under a misapprehension. A shootout ensues, resulting in Woon Yuen’s death.

Clanton ingeniously manipulates the situation, implicating the deceased Tremayne in Woon Yuen’s murder, thus extricating himself and Arline from suspicion. The story concludes with Clanton and Arline seeking comfort in each other’s company, momentarily safe from the dangers that pursued them.


  • Arline Ellis: The protagonist, blackmailed into committing a theft, who navigates the dangers of Shanghai with courage and determination.
  • Lady Elizabeth Willoughby: A wealthy art collector whose identity Arline assumes as part of her disguise.
  • Duke Tremayne: The antagonist, a manipulative blackmailer who uses Arline for his own gains, ultimately meeting a grisly end.
  • Wild Bill Clanton: A rugged sailor who becomes Arline’s protector and lover, showcasing his resourcefulness and loyalty.
  • Woon Yuen: A sinister Chinese merchant with a penchant for cruelty, obsessed with the ruby, who becomes a victim of his own machinations.
  • Yao Chin and Yun Kang: Woon Yuen’s henchmen, tasked with tracking Arline and identifying her accomplice.
  • The decoy: A servant of Woon Yuen, disguised to look like him, used to fool Arline and potential threats.

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