Darwin and Hildegarde Teilhet. The Crimson Hair Murders (1936) 324 pp.
The Baron Franz Maximilian Karagoz und von Kaz, formerly an Austrian police detective, finds himself in Acapulco awaiting passage on a ship to San Francisco, where he is returning to meet his Hawaiian fiancée after unsuccessfully pursuing a squandered family fortune in Austria. In Mexico he overhears a conspirator threatening harm to an heiress and survives an attempt to silence him by murder. Preoccupied with how to break the bad news to his fiancée, the Baron misses danger signs among the party of youngsters on the ship, which includes a young heiress on the way to meet her rich uncle (who owns the shipping line on which they sail), her companion, and two of her male cousins who seem to be competing for her heart and potential fortune. He cannot avoid danger, however, when he awakes from having been drugged to find the crimson-haired companion dead in his stateroom with the Baron’s beloved umbrella dagger through her chest and one of the cousins passed out drunk next to her. They decide to divert suspicion by moving the body, but by the next day it is not where they left it and nowhere to be found. The San Francisco police, encouraged by the Baron, conclude she jumped or fell overboard. The Baron and his accomplice search about San Francisco for clues to uncover the killer without destroying the family fortune, and while the Baron continues to try to end up with enough money to marry and to avoid being locked up for failure to pay his increasingly enormous bill at the Fairmont Hotel, where he is living in the style to which he feels entitled. Ultimately, the Baron survives more attempts on his life, unmasks the murderer, and has money in the bank when he meets his fiancée as she arrives from Hawaii on the China Clipper.
Setting: San Francisco
Baird & Greenwood 2405
1001 Midnights, p. 775-776