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Oriental super-sleuth Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) is hired by his old
friend Henrietta Lowell (Henrietta Crosman) to find her missing brother -
even if that would mean she would lose the family fortune to him. Chan is
soon able to find a clue of the man, who was supposed to have died in a
shipwreck, to Henrietta's old and abandoned family home - and once there,
during a seance, the missing brother turns up, dead, killed only a few
hours ago to be precise. Chan can soon prove the seance was just a
charade, and the police immediately suspects and later arrests the
spiritist (Arthur Edmund Carewe) and his medium (Gloria Roy). Chan is not
so sure though, and when Henrietta herself is killed, he is proven right
in his doubts. To everyone's surprise, Chan now asks the spiritist to hold
a seance to contact Henrietta, and she actually does appear as well, when
out of nowhere a knife is hurled at her - only breaking a mirror in which
she could be seen.
The solution to the whole story: Henrietta was never
really killed, the first time around, the murderer only his a dummy Chan
has placed in her place, and when she, very much alive, appeared now
during the seance, it was only in a mirror as to not endanger her.
However, the knife the murderer had hurled at her was real, and it was
actually placed there by Chan himself, after it was covered in magnesium
dust so the killer's knife-throwing hand would give him away, and the
killer was - one of Henrietta's stepsons (Edward Trevor), who has killed
Henrietta's brother and tried to kill her to get his hands on the
Average entry in the Charlie Chan-series.
this one of the old dark house-variety, that like most films of the series
combines an over-convoluted and -constructed plot with light-footed
narration and direction, but other than in most other episodes, this one
is almost irony-free, which might be appropriate for a murder mystery, but
not essentially for a Charlie Chan-movie.