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A ship is set to sait to Cocos Island the very next day for a treasure
hunt, carrying an eclectic group of wannabe treasure hunters. Charlie Chan
(Sidney Toler) also boards the ship, but not to join the treasure hunt,
but to fetch his wannabe-detective son Jimmy (Victor Sen Yung), who wants
to join the journey as a stowaway, looking for some mystery or another.
Then the financier of the expedition, an elderly woman called Nodbury
(Ethel Griffies) is murdered, frightened to dead by what was supposed to
be a pirate ghost. The motive is very apparent: The killer wanted to get
his hands on her treasure map ... but the good woman had the good sense to
cut her map into four pieces, mailing three of them to various members of
the expedition, but nobody knows to whom.
Finding the murderer is not an
easy task, because there are a few too many shady characters on the boat,
including a neurotic (Milton Parsons) and his alleged psychiatrist (Lenita
Lane), a newspaper man who turns out to be an ex-con (George Reeves), and
actor (Paul McGrath) with his newlywed wife (Kay Aldridge), a coin
collector (Donald Douglas) who figures he's in for the big haul, and the
manager of the trip (Robert Weldon), who seems to be just a bit too
innocent to not be guilty, and his girl (Sheila Ryan) - and all of these
persons are driven by greed.
Charlie eventually manages to secure three
of the four portions of the map, but then they are stolen from him. At
first, all clues point to the reporter/ex-con, but then he is found dead
There is of course another question unanswered: Where is the captain
of the ship (Truman Bradley)?
Eventually, Charlie manages to track him
down to a shack at the docks, where he spends his last night before
setting sails - why? Because a man who has left him for dead long ago has
joined the expedition and now he wants to have his revenge - but only will
do so at sea, and to not give the other guy any warning, he won't be on
board until the very last minute. Charlie tries to urge the captain to
give away the identity of the other guy, because his story has to do with
Cocos Island, and thus he's likely to be the murderer, but to no avail.
the police arrives, and upon a tip from Jimmy Chan, the manager of the
expedition is booked for the murders ... but then Charlie finds himself at
the mercy of the real killer, the rare coin collector, and he's only just
saved by the captain. Charlie can keep the captain from killing his
opponent to have his revenge though and the baddie is handed over to the
A routine series film that sees the series regulars
handle their roles as well and amusing as expected, and that has a nice
set (the boat itself) going for it, as well as a plot that's at least
somewhat likely and comprehensible and a solid supporting cast - but then
again, the film is really nothing special, just another Charlie Chan
film, and while it's probably one of the better ones, it's not one of the
more memorable ones. If you're into Charlie Chan movies of
course, you will like this one, if not, you might still, it's just nothing
to write home about.