In the third Charlie Chan mystery by master craftsman Earl Derr Biggers, the diminutive Chinese detective, who hails from Honolulu, finds himself back in San Francisco after his incredible adventures in the California desert in The Chinese Parrot. Chan cannot wait to get back to his native Hawaii (his wife is pregnant with their eleventh child), but there is a good deal to detain him, much to his chagrin. A regal inspector from Britain's Scotland Yard, Sir Frederic Bruce, appears on the scene to investigate a murder that happened fifteen years earlier. A London solicitor was found murdered in his office, the only compelling clue being a pair of Chinese slippers he donned right before his death. Chan and Bruce exchange pleasantries, and it becomes apparent that Chan's reputation as a sleuth is now international in scope. Sir Frederic is also interested in the disappearance of a number of women throughout the world, and especially Eve Durand, who disappeared from Peshawar in colonial India at exactly the time the unfortunate London solicitor met his demise. Sir Frederic thinks the disappearance may have some connection to the murder. Things take a nasty turn when there is a dinner party hosted by Barry Kirk, Chan's friend and mentor in San Francisco, to which a number of important and mysterious guests are invited. Sir Frederic himself is found murdered in a 12th floor office; he too was last seen wearing a pair of Chinese slippers, which have now disappeared. It is up to Chan to solve this new case, and in the process, the other, older case. The San Francisco locale is very prominent in this book. Biggers lived there, and there are wonderful descriptions of the city. Chan has a first cousin, Chan Lee Kim, who lives in Chinatown, and from whom Chan seeks help in solving the many mysteries confronting him. There are a collection of colorful characters that populate this novel, including a young female prosecutor named June Morrow who offers assistance to Chan. She appreciates his help, and there seems to be a neverending caseload in the burgeoning metropolis. It is at the very last minute, after the cases at hand are solved, that Chan must slip out a window onto a fire escape to catch a steamer back home to his evergrowing family.