Fifty Candles (Expanded Edition), by Earl Derr Biggers (epub/Kindle/pdf)

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Earl Derr Biggers (1884-1933) is best remembered as the creator of Chinese detective Charlie Chan.

Biggers had always been interested in mystery fiction, but his interest in Hawaii clearly stems from a 1919 vacation in Honolulu. While there, he read a newspaper article on a Chinese detective named Chang Apana. Apana would become the model for Charlie Chan in Biggers' 1925 novel, "The House Without a Key," and there quickly followed five more Charlie Chan novels.

Fifty Candles -- first published just two years after that 1919 vacation -- shows how Hawaii, China, and murder had already begun to come together in Biggers' imagination. The story starts in a courthouse in Honolulu, moves to China, then to fog-shrouded San Francisco. Many of the elements used in the Charlie Chan series are present: Chinese characters (both sinister and sympathetic), the Honolulu legal system, a shrewd detective (in this case, the lawyer Mark Drew rather than a policemen), and a baffling murder complete with red herrings and plenty of suspects.

This special edition includes John Betancourt's introduction from the 2001 paperback edition, plus a bonus short story, "The Way to the Island" -- a long-lost Earl Derr Biggers tale!

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