Frank Archer. The Malabang Pearl (1964) 180 pp.
Robert Morland, principal owner of Oriental Hardwoods, Inc. (a family company that imports teak and mahogany from the Philippines, where Morland was born and raised), returns home to San Francisco from a business trip to discover that his sister, Laura, is missing. She worked for an escort company and had been in a Telegraph Hill nightclub that had burned down after an explosion. The police, led by Inspector Joe Delaney, are not overly concerned about the missing woman—Laura had a reputation as a good-time girl and was working as a paid escort, after all—but Morland and his sister’s roommate, Grace McCooney, are convinced that something sinister must have happened to her. When he discovers that his sister ’s “date” that evening was a businessman from the Philippines who had specifically requested Laura’s services, he begins to suspect that her disappearance is connected to something from their past, a suspicion that is strengthened when his uncle shows up to tell him a fantastic story of the Malabang Pearl, a fabled lost gold mine that had cursed his family for generations. The story gets more believable when Morland discovers part of a map among his mother’s papers, which the kidnappers subsequently demand as ransom. Then Grace is also kidnapped and it is up to Morland and Jimmy Phelan—a reporter for the Examiner, who was Laura’s latest boyfriend—with the help of Inspector Delaney and the SFPD, to get the girls back.
Setting: San Francisco
Baird & Greenwood 1931
Hubin