A group of American travelers, on a leisurely tour around the world in the early 1930s late 1920s, is having a very pleasant trip - if you don't mind the occasional murder. A detective from Scotland Yard, trying to follow the string of crimes from London to the Riviera to Calcutta, is shot and gravely wounded when the tour gets to Honolulu. As he is carried off to the hospital, he manages to say to his friend, a Honolulu police inspector, "Carry on, Charlie."
Which is exactly what Charlie Chan does in Charlie Chan Carries On," the fifth of six novels about the marvelous Chinese-American detective, written by Earl Derr Biggers. It's the subject of today's Classic Mysteries podcast review, and you can listen to the entire review by clicking here.
If you don't know Charlie Chan - or if you only know him from the many movies about him that were made in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s - here's a chance to meet a remarkably able and intelligent detective. It's also a chance to revisit a time, not so very long ago, when a luxurious trip around the world took months, mostly by ship and train.
Is the character of Charlie Chan something of a caricature, as some Asian-American groups have said? I think that may be true of some of the movies (particularly the later ones), but I don't think it's true of the books. Biggers set out to make his detective a very well-rounded and sympathetic character; the steps Charlie follows to solve this case are brilliantly planned and executed. If you enjoy vintage mysteries with what were, at the time, unusual and exotic settings, the Charlie Chan books are very much worth your attention.
[UPDATED to change "early 1930s" to "late 1920s" - the book was published in 1930]