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Behind That Curtain: A Charlie Chan Mystery [Unknown Binding]

Earl Derr Biggers , Earl Derr Biggers , Marilyn Stasio , Marilyn Stasio
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

28 May 2009 Charlie Chan Mystery
In the third Charlie Chan mystery by master craftsman Earl Derr Biggers, the diminutive Chinese detective, who hails from Honolulu, finds himself back in San Francisco after his incredible adventures in the California desert in The Chinese Parrot. Chan cannot wait to get back to his native Hawaii (his wife is pregnant with their eleventh child), but there is a good deal to detain him, much to his chagrin. A regal inspector from Britain's Scotland Yard, Sir Frederic Bruce, appears on the scene to investigate a murder that happened fifteen years earlier. A London solicitor was found murdered in his office, the only compelling clue being a pair of Chinese slippers he donned right before his death. Chan and Bruce exchange pleasantries, and it becomes apparent that Chan's reputation as a sleuth is now international in scope. Sir Frederic is also interested in the disappearance of a number of women throughout the world, and especially Eve Durand, who disappeared from Peshawar in colonial India at exactly the time the unfortunate London solicitor met his demise. Sir Frederic thinks the disappearance may have some connection to the murder. Things take a nasty turn when there is a dinner party hosted by Barry Kirk, Chan's friend and mentor in San Francisco, to which a number of important and mysterious guests are invited. Sir Frederic himself is found murdered in a 12th floor office; he too was last seen wearing a pair of Chinese slippers, which have now disappeared. It is up to Chan to solve this new case, and in the process, the other, older case. The San Francisco locale is very prominent in this book. Biggers lived there, and there are wonderful descriptions of the city. Chan has a first cousin, Chan Lee Kim, who lives in Chinatown, and from whom Chan seeks help in solving the many mysteries confronting him. There are a collection of colorful characters that populate this novel, including a young female prosecutor named June Morrow who offers assistance to Chan. She appreciates his help, and there seems to be a neverending caseload in the burgeoning metropolis. It is at the very last minute, after the cases at hand are solved, that Chan must slip out a window onto a fire escape to catch a steamer back home to his evergrowing family.


Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897335848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897335843
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,157,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Infinite Patience and Dogged Attention to Detail 16 April 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Set in San Francisco, this is the third of six books in the Charlie Chan series. The most interesting characters are a thoroughly liberated female lawyer and a famous British explorer. Chan's strong suit is his infinite patience and dogged attention to detail. He brings order out of chaos while operating in a simpler world. As a bonus we get not only a neat solution to the crimes but also two promising romances at the end. This is a story designed to leave the reader feeling good about the human condition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Happened to Eve Durand? 20 Dec 1999
By Bridget - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Don't let yourself be fooled into believing this is just a simple dinner party murder. There is infinitely more at stake. The victim? Sir Frederic Bruce, famous Scotland Yard Detective and on the trail of the most elusive woman you will ever meet. Is it possible to find the truth behind these lies, buried in the dust of fifteen year old crime that also must be solved? Count on Charlie Chan to find the answer!
The book's plot is not the one thing that drws you in, but Biggers writing as well, told with a mix of humor, drama and always with a familiarity that makes this an easy, quick and completely enjoyable read and leaves you craving more!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Infinite Patience and Dogged Attention to Detail 15 Nov 2000
By Rosemary Brunschwyler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Set in San Francisco , this is the third of six books in the Charlie Chan series. The most interesting characters are a thoroughly liberated female lawyer and a famous British explorer. Chan's strong suit is his infinite patience and dogged attention to detail. He brings order out of chaos while operating in a simpler world. As a bonus we get not only a neat solution to the crimes but also two promising romances at the end. This is a story designed to leave the reader feeling good about the human condition.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exotic & romantic 26 July 2009
By Patto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Unknown Binding|Verified Purchase
The third Charlie Chan mystery (1928) lives up to the reputation of both Chan and his creator. This time Charlie pulls aside the curtain that conceals a mystery far in the past.

Charlie Chan is still trying to leave San Francisco after a vacation that turned into a job of detection. Once again he's kept from leaving by a case: the murder of Sir Frederick Bruce, ex-head of the Criminal Investigation Unit at Scotland Yard. Despite his retirement, Sir Frederick can't resist pursuing certain unsolved cases to their end. His end comes before his success, and it's Charlie Chan's fate to carry on.

How Charlie gets involved is a part of the deliciously complex plot that the reader can look forward to. Earl Derr Biggers has a genius for intricate plotting that doesn't lose the reader - and characters so witty, sinister, silly or charming, you observe them all with amused fascination.

The characters include a gorgeous woman lawyer obsessed with her career, a blustering police inspector who gets everything wrong, an unstoppable explorer who leaves behind a trail of dead camels and men in every remote patch of Earth he visits - and three women who have disappeared into the night over the last 15 years, starting with a young beauty in Peshawar. The search for these women has been the death of Sir Frederick.

As always, Charlie Chan is patient, modest, wise - and a fountain of delightfully flowery language. I'm moving on immediately to the next mystery in the series: The Black Camel..
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missing Woman and a Pair of Chinese Slippers 15 Sep 2009
By Jeannie Mancini - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Unknown Binding
Behind that Curtain, a newly reprinted edition of Earl Derr Biggers third Charlie Chan mystery brings the bygone era of San Francisco in the 1920s vividly back to life. I love these Charlie Chan stories that are so full of humor and portrayal of a time when life, and murder mysteries, were of a simple yet highly enjoyable style.

Our Hawaiian sleuth is on vacation for a week on the mainland, and is presented with a telegram that his wife has just delivered his 11th child and that he must make haste in his return as soon as possible. On his last evening in the big city, he is invited to a social dinner at the request of Barry Kirk, a business man who Charlie had met during his stay. At this elegant event are also a Hollywood movie actress, a famous adventure explorer, and Sir Frederic Bruce, a retired head of Scotland Yard who was visiting following up on some research of an old case he was never able to solve in his career. In addition to the dinner, this group was also entertained with movies taken from the explorer's recent jaunt to Tibet. The conversation over dinner led to Sir Frederic informing the guests that many years ago, the most daunting case of his career occurred. The only unsolved crime that he was never able to let go in his mind, was that of a British woman on vacation with her husband in India that suddenly went missing, never to be found. In addition, two other women over the years had also gone missing in the same curious manner, one minute there, the next poof, just gone.

While the guests enjoy the films of Tibet, they hear a gunshot below, and the mystery begins with Sir Frederic Bruce being murdered in cold blood within Barry Kirk's living quarters beneath them. He is oddly found wearing a pair of Chinese Slippers, slippers that had also gone missing in India with the woman that had disappeared 15 years prior. Barry pleads with Charlie to stay and assist with the case instead of returning to Hawaii, trusting that if anyone can figure out the puzzle it would be his friend Charlie Chan. Our sly Chinese philosopher detective agrees to remain for a period of one week until all clues are gathered and a criminal is apprehended.

In a crazy Columbo-like style of crime solving, this fun mystery delivers many interesting characters, an ingenious plot with a few red herrings to keep you on your toes, and provides a few hours of light and easy detective entertainment. Charlie's method of "watchful waiting" and responses akin to that of Buddha will have you on the sofa turning pages with a smile on your face, and unable to stop until the phrase THE END arrives on the last page. The only word I can come up with for the Charlie Chan mysteries is "delightful". As Mikey used to say in the old Life cereal television commercials "Try it, you'll like it".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 13 April 2013
By William D Deniston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Biggers as usual doe it agin, I have and always enjoy his stories, you can read them over over again and get something different out of it
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