Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Behind That Curtain: Earl Derr Biggers


Although there were many Charlie Chan movies released in the 1930's and 40's, there were only six novels in the series, published between 1925 and 1932. This one is set in San Francisco, and Charlie meets a retired Inspector from Scotland Yard, Sir Frederic Bruce, who has come to the US to continue the investigation of a case he was never able to solve. Unfortunately, Sir Frederic is killed at a dinner party and Charlie Chan must find his murderer.


I found San Francisco to be a more engaging environment than the California desert, the setting for the previous book in the series, The Chinese Parrot. Throughout this book, Charlie is eager to return to his home in Hawaii where his eleventh child, a son, has been born. Yet he feels a responsibility to see the case through before he leaves. And it is a complicated case, with many suspects.

This is the third book in the series, and the fourth that I have read. Earl Derr Biggers is a wonderful story teller and he always keeps me entertained. I find his characters engaging and enjoyed the romance in this one, which does not overshadow the plot.

My reviews of other books in the series:



Other reviews of this book at Vintage Pop Fictions, The Broken Bullhorn, Classic Mysteries, and Mystery*File.


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Publisher:    Academy Chicago Publishers, 2009 (orig. pub. 1928)
Length:        279 pages
Format:       Trade Paperback
Series:        Charlie Chan, #3
Setting:       San Francisco, CA
Genre:        Mystery
Source:       Borrowed from my husband.

10 comments:

  1. I agree, this is a good one. I like all of Biggar's Chan novels I've read, and have just one more to go, the last. I've been "saving it" for just the right time.

    The movies, on the other hand, I find dreadful.

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    1. I still have The Black Camel and Charlie Chan Carries On to read, Rick, and I probably will read The Black Camel soon. Looking forward to it. I like the movies, but they do have some problems.

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  2. I'm glad you like Biggars' writing style, Tracy. I agree that his style's engaging, and I like the Charlie Chan character. I especially like that we get the chance to see a bit of his personal life as well as his professional life.

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    1. I am looking forward to reading The Black Camel soon, Margot. More fun with Charlie Chan.

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  3. Ahhh, so! I loved the movies back in the day, Tracy, but must confess shamefacedly I have not read any of Biggar's novels. This I will correct post haste! Great cover!

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    1. You should give one of the Chan books by Biggers a try, Mathew. They are fun and a good look back at the 20s and 30s.

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  4. I have never read any Charlie Chan, though I once read a novella by Earl Derr Biggers and enjoyed it very much. One day I will get to these.

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    1. I think you will enjoy them when you do get to the Chan books, Moira. I liked the first Charlie Chan novel best, and he doesn't even show up in it until later in the book.

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  5. Not sure if I have read Biggers or not. If I haven't I'm fairly sure I have something on the pile. I don't think I'm bumping it to the top though.

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    1. You are like me, Col. You will never read all the books you have (although you do have more years to do that in). And you keep buying books. This morning we went to a garage sale next door with lots of books, and I brought home 10 or 12 more books.

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