Charlie Chan in the Black Camel Hardcover – 29 Sep 2003
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Leading the parade of suspects is Bob Fife, Sheila's first husband, whom she had contacted again only recently. Chan is also very interested in Alan Jaynes whom Sheila had rejected as a suitor on the day of her murder.
The only serious suspect not at the party is an alcoholic beachcomber named Bob Smith who was near the house at the time of the crime. As Charlie's investigation approaches its conclusion, however,he has to admit that too much evidence points to the enigmatic Tarneverro himself-except that the seer seems to be the only one with an airtight alibi.
In 1932 Earl Biggers wrote a report to his Harvard classmates on the occasion of the twenty-fifth reunion of the class of 1907. He described how he happened to conceive of creating an ethnic Chinese detective for a mystery story set in Hawaii: "But my memories of the islands were rather dim; I dropped into a library to brighten them a bit by a perusal of recent Honolulu newspapers. In an obscure corner of an inside page, I found an item to the effect that a certain hapless Chinese, being too fond of opium, had been arrested by Sergeants Chang Apana and Lee Fook, of the Honolulu Police."
Because of this chance reading of a newspaper item, Biggers was inspired to use Chan in THE HOUSE WITHOUT A KEY which was published in 1925 after running serially in the SATURDAY EVENING POST.