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CHARLIE CHAN RETURNS is a novelization of a script by Ed Spielman and Howard Friedlander that was never produced. Bantam published it as part of the uniform series of the Chan 13591073novels by Earl Derr Biggers, making in number four. It was published in 1974.

The great detective is on vacation in New York to visit his third son, Jimmy, a police detective himself, when he receives a dinner invitation from Victor Cosmo, a rich philanthropist, who’d noticed a newspaper insert of Chan’s arrival in town. He’s promised a good time.

What it all is is a gathering of Cosmo’s enemies and the reveal that Cosmo has received a recorded death threat, one cobbled together with words from various radio broadcasts.

Four people who all hate Cosmo because they owe him for his patronage and he has something on all of them that can ruin them. Lorraine McCall, a famous actress who has a bit of film in her past that could prove embarrassing. Winston Cleaver, a portly best selling mystery writer who also happens to be gay. Lalique, a famous artist who works are painted by other persons. And Jeffrey Lowman, a politician and candidate for Mayor, which should tell you something about him.

Cosmo has everything written down in a journal and thinks that, along with Chan on the job, should keep him safe.

Well this is a murder mystery so we know how well that works.

The philanthropist is done in by a grenade taped to the wall of his shower stall, the pin pulled, the spoon held in place by the door until one enters and closes it for their shower.

Now it’s up to Chan to turn up the killer while his son Jimmy pursues the actual murderer with his partner. In true crime novel fashion, all the suspects are gathered together at the end for the big reveal. Not to say along the way that other murders occur and two attempts on Chan as well.

Interesting read.

For more forgotten books, Friday is the place to be over at PATTINASE.

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