The Armitage Files
Joseph Qiáng Liú
Chinese-American dealer in rare books.
Joseph is the proprietor of Liu’s Rare Books & Antiquities, located in Merchants Row in central Arkham.
He has dealt with many staff at Arkham University over the years, but especially Professor Armitage, who has frequently asked him to source many books for the Orme Library. After one such book proved impossible to acquire because every owner he could find had destroyed their own copy and suffered some kind of breakdown, he talked to Armitage frankly about his fears that the book may be unsuitable for healthy minds. Armitage was impressed with his honesty, persistence and candour, and started to discuss with him the unusual circumstances around many of his previous requests – and asked Joseph if he would assist with the Inquiry group.
Joseph’s paternal grandparents emigrated from China to California during the gold rush in the 1850s; his father married a white American woman, and when Joseph was young moved to the East coast to find a more accepting society. Joseph enjoyed losing himself in books and developed a lifelong passion for the written word in both English and Mandarin; he worked in bookshops and auction houses. He moved to Arkham to establish his own business in 1926, his by then elderly parents moving there to live near him until they both died in 1935. He has a brother who moved back to California to work in the family business, and a sister who lives in New York with her husband.
He has one assistant, a young woman named Grace Lee, who has worked in the shop with him for the last three years.