Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

John P. Marquand wrote five novels featuring Japanese secret agent Mr. Moto between 1935 and 1942, when World War II forced him to abandon the Japanese figure as a hero. During that time, these novels, first appearing as serials in The Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s, attracted many readers because of their intriguing characters, exotic and mysterious settings, action-filled plots, and polished style. Moto became one of the most popular mystery characters of the 1930’s, and Twentieth Century Fox, the same studio that produced the Charlie Chan films based on the Earl Derr Biggers character, made eight films, with Peter Lorre expertly playing Moto between 1937 and 1939. Although the films sometimes had the same titles as the novels, their plots bore little relationship to the books. Another film was added to the series in 1965, with Henry Silva as the detective. Near the end of his life, Marquand produced one more Moto book. In it, Moto aids an American intelligence agency against Russian spies.