Charlie Chan is brought in when an archaeologist disappears while excavating ancient art treasures in Egypt. Charlie must sort out the stories of the archaeological team, deal with the crazed son of the missing scientist, learn why priceless treasures are falling into the hands of private collectors, and battle many seemingly supernatural events.
Movie star Shelah Fayne is making a picture on location in Honolulu, Hawaii. She summons mystic adviser Tarneverro from Hollywood to help her decide whether to marry wealthy Alan Jaynes, a man she has only known for a week. Her friend Julie O’Neil worries, however, that the famous psychic has too much influence over her. Meanwhile, Julie has fallen in love herself with local publicity director Jimmy Bradshaw.
Chan’s testimony results in a death sentence for convicted murderer Steve McBirney (Marc Lawrence). However, he escapes and heads to a wax museum, a secret Mob hideout run by Dr. Cream (C. Henry Gordon). Cream, a crooked “facial surgeon”, operates on McBirney, changing his appearance.
A mysterious Chinese woman arrives at Charlie Chan’s home and is murdered there shortly afterward. The only clues are the ring with which she introduced herself, and the message “Capt K” she scrawled before dying.
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This was Sidney Toler’s final film and his final one as Charlie Chan. Striken with cancer during his last few films, he was so physically weak during filming that he could hardly walk or say his lines coherently.
An ocean liner sinks off Honolulu and Allen Colby, heir to millions, is presumed dead…but local sleuth Charlie Chan is not so sure, and flies to San Francisco to investigate further.