In 1925 a somewhat obscure writer wrote a mystery story set in Honolulu that was serialized in the The Saturday Evening Post. The writer was Earl Derr Biggers and the story, later published by Bobbs-Merrill was called The House without a Key.
About a quarter into the book, a new character is introduced as the detective from the Honolulu Police department investigating the crime. The detective was named Charlie Chan. He was supposed to be a secondary character, but he caught the fascination of the reading public and letters poured in asking to read more of the detective.