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Behind That Curtain

Behind That Curtain [Kindle Edition]

Earl Derr Biggers

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Product Description

Product Description

Behind That Curtain is the third novel in the Charlie Chan series of mystery novels by Earl Derr Biggers.

It is set almost exclusively in California (as opposed to Chan's native Hawaii), and tells the story of the former head of Scotland Yard, a detective who is pursuing the long-cold trail of a murderer. Fifteen years ago, a London solicitor was killed in circumstances in which the only clue was a pair of Chinese slippers, which he apparently donned just before his death. Sir Frederic Bruce has been following the trail of the killer ever since. He has also been interested in what appears to be a series of disappearing women around the world, which has some connection to the disappearance of a woman named Eve Durand in rural India also fifteen years ago. Just when it seems he might finally solve the murder case, at a dinner party to which a number of important and mysterious guests have been invited, Inspector Bruce is killed -- and was last seen wearing a pair of Chinese slippers, which have vanished. It is left to Chan to solve the case and tie up all loose ends.

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About the Author

Earl Derr Biggers (1884 -1933) was an American novelist and playwright. He is remembered primarily for his novels, especially those featuring the Chinese-American detective, Charlie Chan. Biggers was born in Warren, Ohio, and graduated from Harvard University in 1907. Many of his plays and novels were made into movies, and he was posthumously inducted into the Warren City Schools Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. By 1908, Biggers was hired at the Boston Traveler to write a daily humor column and, soon after, became the drama critic. It was at this time that he met Elanor Ladd, who would later become his wife and who would have a marked influence in his writing. The popularity of Charlie Chan extended even to China, where audiences in Shanghai appreciated the Hollywood films. Chinese companies made their own versions of the films starring this fictional character. Biggers lived in San Marino, California, and died in a Pasadena, California of a heart attack. He was 48.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 396 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Green Light (11 Feb 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00789STUY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #622,133 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Mystery and Hero 26 April 2008
By Ron in Western Maryland - Published on
I just read a copy of this book that I got from the Enoch Pratt branch of the Maryland State Library System. Prior to this I had watched the 1929 version of the story as part of the Charlie Chan DVD series. The film was an extremely bad attempt at portraying Earl Derr Biggers' book and character Charlie Chan. This book could easily be made into a mini-series along the lines of Miss Marple, Poirot, Foyle's War or any of the Mystery episodes long part of PBS. I could see Chow Yun Fat in the Charlie Chan role and the making of this book as a period piece along the lines of the great British Mystery series of the past 30 years. It would be an opportunity to make a more realistic rendering of this character which has suffered from Hollywoodization since the 1920's, Warner Oland's efforts notwithstanding. The story takes place primarily in San Francisco of the 1920's and a good screenplay showing the underrated genius of one of America's great detectives could be a very worthwhile task. This book provides the meat. Time to give Mr. Chan his due.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The essential evidence 19 Jun 2013
By Phred - Published on
In Earl Biggers' third outing for Charlie Chan, the Hawaiian detective is returning from solving the Chinese Parrot murder case and anxious to return home to his 11th and newest child.

However, in San Francisco he meets a friend and grudgingly becomes involved another murder mystery. While possible suspects are at a party (with Charlie Chan in attendance), Sir Frederick Bruce, retired Chief Inspector, Scotland Yard is murdered one floor below. This case is a modified form of the locked room mystery. Sir Fredrick had intentionally made it easy for his attacker to enter the room, but he had baited it to attract only one person. The soon to be murdered Scotland Yard Chief was following the essential evidence trying to clear an older murder case. The stakes in solving Sir Fredrick's murder include unraveling several possible crimes. are higher than

Between the suspects in this case and the representatives of the law, present are: a woman assistant DA, a short tempered American police captain, a steely eyed international explorer, other members of Scotland Yard, a rich charming American and his equally rich aunt, the requisite suspicious butler and a handful of other period types. It would appear that Biggers is deliberately trying to bounce different stereotypical murder mystery characters against each other.

Given the modern sensibilities about the way Charlie Chan is usually portrayed; the one character who is most insistent that Charlie Chan is just a 'China man', is the American police officer and he will have his nose rubbed in his prejudice. Most of the characters are somewhat startled at the concept of an attractive female DA handling a major murder case. She proves herself to be more than competent earns the respect of all. She is also able to hold her own in a budding romance. This is relatively modern stuff for a Jazz age novelist.

Biggers does a good job presenting and nurturing his red herrings while allowing the evidence to unfold. The reader is present as this evidence is uncovered. The test of a well-written mystery is that the reader, by paying attention can solve it before the reveal. In Behind that Curtain, it is just possible to guess "whodunit", but there is a difference between guessing the solution and having the evidence. This book walks that line very closely.

By way of full disclosure, this review is almost exactly the same as one I posted for the Kindle edition of this book. Amazon asked<?> suggested<?> anyway seems to want me to review this edition, here it is. This also means I cannot speak to the quality of this edition and as such my comments are limited to the quality of the story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many coincidences and inconsistencies. 8 April 2009
By J. Dias - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the third Charlie Chan book I read. I liked the first 2 better than this one. It is still a good read and I am planning to read the other Charlie Chan books. I like the genre and the way the author writers.

Overall it is an easy reading. The story is always moving forward, which keeps the reader interested. The ending is quite surprising. I did not see it coming. The murderer is someone you would never expect.

However I felt that the overall plot was a little weak. There is a girl that disappeared some 15 years ago in India. And there was also a murder that happened few years before the girl's disappearance. At the end of the book we learn what happened to the girl and why the murder was committed. However they both didn't seem to make sense. I felt the motives for both the murder and disappearance were very weak. It felt like the author wanted to tell the story but did not invest much time creating a strong motive.

In addition, I felt that the coincidences were not very credible. For example, when Charlie decided to sail back to Hawaii he "happens" to take a stateroom in the boat next to a stateroom where he overhear two people involved in the mystery talking. In another scene, two characters are having dinner in a San Francisco restaurant and they "happen" to see two other characters having dinner at the same restaurant.

Another thing that I felt odd was that at some point they discover that one of the people working on the building where the crime was committed was using an assumed name. The police simply dismisses the person without making any attempt to find that person's real name.

So overall I liked the reading. It was amusing and interesting. However I felt that the plot in this third book on the Charlie Chan series was not as well created as the first two.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like Charlie Chan, movies and books 17 Nov 2013
By Kenneth W. Kassen - Published on
Verified Purchase
I am a Charlie Chan fan (maybe I should say, I am a Charlie Chan nut) from way back, from the first time I heard a comedy on radio (or I should say a parody) to the many movies. I think the books on the market are engrossing, but again you have to be a fanatic like me to appreciate this book or any of the others. They are interesting reads, even for those who were never into the Charlie Chan group. My military buddies enjoyed them when they borrowed them from me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned Mystery and Romance 12 July 2013
By Bobby Underwood - Published on
"The moment has charm." -- Charlie Chan

Charlie Chan is in romantic San Francisco in Behind That Curtain. Earl Derr Biggers wrote in a style which lent itself to romance as well as mystery. Perhaps only M.M. Kaye blended the two as perfectly as Biggers. Once embarked on this Chan adventure, one feels the trade winds of Hawaii calling our detective back to Honolulu for the birth of his 11th child. Yet the romance of a misty San Francisco still filled with the orient beckon him to stay and solve just one more crime. Behind That Curtain has so much atmosphere it washes over the reader like a sudden rain shower. Fortunately, we are in the most lovely of 1920's cities, with cable cars and quaint bungalows for shelter. Dark passages and murder do exist here, however, and we can consider ourselves lucky that the elegant Chan has stayed over to guide us away from danger.

Bill Rankin is a reporter with the idea of bringing together the visiting sleuth from Honolulu and Scotland Yard's Sir Frederic Bruce. Their stories of crimes solved will make a good feature. But it is Frederic's regrets in connection to an unsolved murder, and the seemingly unrelated disappearance of Eve Durand from India nearly 15 years prior that haunt the conversation. Barry Kirk and the pretty young D.A. he's immediately smitten with, June Morrow, plead for Charlie to stay when Sir Frederic is murdered. There are as many suspects to ponder over as there are mysterious clues. But which is that elusive 'essential clue' so beloved by Scotland Yard?

Charlie wants none of it, and only once onboard the S.S. Maui, of the famous Matson line, does an overheard conversation in an adjoining cabin have the Chinaman rushing down the gangplank to join Barry and June. They must all contend with Captain Flannery, however, whose methods are as heavy-handed as Charlie's are subtle. Charlie discovers evidence of two other missing young women, and suspects a possible connection to the unsolved Hilary Galt murder. How does a world famous adventurer fit into the picture? Are the slippers the essential clue, or something else? In the end, it is of course our favorite detective from the Islands who realizes the clue has been there all along.

The mystery is as much fun as racing down Nob Hill in a 1920's roadster in search of a clue. There is an innocence to the romance between Barry and June borne of another time. Chan is at the top of his game here, both funny and wise. The final scenes hold both humor, and inevitably, as was Biggers' custom, a dash of the romantic. This Charlie Chan is great fun and has one of the most charming endings of any Biggers wrote. A must read for those who like their mysteries old-fashioned, and a bit on the romantic side.
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