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316 pages. Charlie Chan Mysteries, No. 1. The House Without a Key is the first of the Charlie Chan mysteries written by Biggers. The novel is remarkable in two respects. First, although Chan is ostensibly the detective, his role in the book is fairly small. He does figure out the solution to the case, but it is at the same time as Winterslip, and it is the Bostonian who has the honor of collaring the murderer. Second, the novel's portrayal of the Chinese, specifically Charlie Chan, is forward-looking for its era. The Bostonians find it hard to accept a Chinese detective on the case, but the locals know him by reputation and show him respect. While, some of the descriptions evince some of the stereotypes of the day, Chan is portrayed sympathetically, as an equal to the whites that surround him.