Earl Derr Biggers. Charlie Chan Carries On (1930) 334 pp.
Even though his name is in the title, Detective-Inspector Charlie Chan doesn’t make an appearance in this novel until more than half way in. The story begins in Broome’s Hotel in London, where an elderly gentleman, Mr. Hugh Morris Drake, is found strangled in his bed. Drake was on a world tour with a group of fellow Americans. Inspector Duff of Scotland Yard (first introduced in Behind That Curtain) is called in to investigate. The motive for the killing proves impenetrable—although the killer most certainly is a member of the travel party, no one seems to have any possible reason for wanting the old man dead. Eventually forced to allow them to resume their journey, Duff joins the party to continue the investigation on the road. Every time he seems to be making a break in the case, the killer strikes again, leaving a trail of corpses across Europe. As the party moves East, Duff is forced to leave the group and installs one of his officers to accompany them undercover. As they are leaving Japan, heading for Hawaii, the undercover officer is murdered on the Yokohama docks. Duff embarks on journey across America, investigating each remaining traveler. He meets the party again in Honolulu, where Charlie Chan finally gets involved in the case when Duff himself falls victim to the murderer. Lying wounded on the floor of the Honolulu police station, Duff asks Charlie to carry on the investigation. Charlie boards the ship bound for San Francisco and finally cracks the case, arresting the killer when the ship docks in San Francisco.
Setting: London; Nice; San Remo; Hawaii; San Francisco
Baird & Greenwood 254