Charlie receives fourteen free passes to the circus for him and his entire family but soon realizes that there are strings attached as the big top's co-owner asks his guest to investigate threatening letters that he's received. Before the famous detective can, the man is murdered. Charlie soon finds out that the co-owner was not a particularly pleasant or well-liked individual, and among the many suspects are his partner, a snake charmer and the menagerie's gorilla. Son Lee, usually an enthusiastic assistant for his father, is distracted by the show's beautiful contortionist. Written by
Gabe Taverney (email@example.com)
Even the most dedicated of sleuths likes an occasional day off and Warner Oland as Charlie Chan wanted just such a day to spend with his family at the circus. But it actually turns out that one of the partners who owned the circus had hired him to look into some veiled threats he'd been receiving from unknown sources.
So the Chan family, all 14 of them, go to the circus and wouldn't you know it, the guy who hires Charlie winds up murdered. And Charlie's got a whole circus full of suspects.
Oland enters the case at the behest of the performers, especially two midgets played by George and Olive Brasno. The police are holding the circus up until the murder is solved, but that in itself will bankrupt the show if they miss scheduled dates.
It was nice to see Charlie on a family outing even if he couldn't escape the need for his services. As usual Keye Luke is the bumptious number one son who Charlie has to keep dispensing fortune cookie wisdom all the time to.
This is a good, if average entry in the Charlie Chan series.
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