Just as in Biggers’ first Charlie Chan mystery, „The House Without a Key,” that romantic link between the Hawaii of a different era and the city of San Francisco is explored and holds the key to the mystery. Henry Drew has cheated young Winthrop out of a partnership in a Hunan mine. Other shady deeds abound in the past of this rich and outwardly respectable old man. Despite his antagonism to Drew, Winthrop accepts the old man’s invitation to a birthday dinner, mainly to be near the young woman he loves, companion to Mrs. Drew. Unfortunately Winthrop finds old Drew dead in a pool of blood by the dining room table, and he himself is the likeliest suspect. Or could the murderer be Dr. Parker, illicit admirer of Mrs. Drew? And why are there fifty candles on the birthday cake, when old Drew was pushing seventy?