Book Review: The House Without A Key by Earl Derr Biggers (1921)

Golden Age of Detective Fiction

In Charlie Chan’s first novel, The House Without A Key, published in 1925, readers get a window into 1920s Hawaii from its caucasian imperialist inhabitants. A romantic island remote from its neighbors slumber in the cool tradewinds painted by Earl Derr Biggers. Readers are lulled by the crashing waves and are welcomed by one of the richest men on the island Daniel Winterslip. A wealthy man from a prominent family in Boston, he is afforded respect by people who do not know him intimately. Daniel Winterslip is fighting with his brother Amos, is running from his blackbirding past, is hiding how he enmassed his fortune, and having an affair with an unsavory woman. When Daniel Winterslip is killed in his home, motives abound. He’s mourned chiefly by his cousin, Minerva Winterslip, and few others. John Quincy Winterslip sails to Hawaii to take his aunt Minerva home to Boston, but…

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