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Charlie Chan Volume 1-The House Without a Key & The Chinese Parrot: Two Complete Novels Featuring the Legendary Chinese-Hawaiian Detective: "The House Without a Key" AND "The Chinese Parrot" v. 1 Paperback – 18 Jul 2007


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 38 reviews
81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romance, historic settings, race relations, and murder 19 April 2002
By F. Orion Pozo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Between 1925 and 1932, Earl Derr Biggers wrote six novels about Charley Chan, a fictional Chinese detective, who was to become a pop culture icon through his representation in Hollywood movies. It is said that the author based his character on a genuine Chinese detective in Honolulu named Chang Apana that he read about while vacationing in Honolulu. In a time when "white priviledge" was assumed, Detective Chan overcomes racial barriers as he pursues white murderers in a white society. The only other Chinese in evidence in these stories are servants and laborers. The novels take place in the Honolulu and California of post World War I America and the descriptions of these long-gone settings are wonderfully rich and rewarding. Each story not only tells how a puzzling murder is solved, but also has a sub-plot of young people finding true love. Romance, historic settings, race relations, and a murder mystery are all the earmarks of a Charley Chan novel. They are a joy to read and much better than the movies of the 1930s and 1940s. I am disappointed that the book has only five of the six Charley Chan novels. Included in this volume are: The House Without a Key (1925); The Chinese Parrot (1926); Behind That Curtain (1928); The Black Camel (1929); and, Keeper of the Keys (1932). The one novel left out is: Charlie Chan Carries On (1930). I hope that someday we will be able to buy all six in one volume with an introductory essay that gives some background on the author and discusses the influence of these novels.
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 excellent + 2 poor books = a very good bargain 27 Sept. 1998
By Ray King - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This anthology of five novels written between 1925 and 1932 break cleanly into two groups. The first three books (House without a Key, Chinese Parrot, and Behind that Curtain) are clever, entertaining and quite enjoyable. That last two are contrived with the proverbial red herrings dragged everywhere to confuse the issue but not to add to the enjoyment. An interesting footnote to 'House without a Key' is its characters' comments that the beauty of Hawaii is being destroyed by the commercialism and tourists. This, in 1925.

My advice is read the first three books and stop at that point. You'll have gotten your money's worth and you'll avoid the bitter aftertaste the latter two books impart.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undervalued writing 7 Dec. 2010
By Alan Buster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These popular novels from the 20s and 30s rarely come to mind when people think of Charlie Chan. Naturally, they think of the movies. But most readers would agree that the novels are more exciting, bursting as they are with a sense of wonder and vitality. The author seems never to have gotten over the sense of marvel he experienced on first coming west, and then to Hawaii. And for fans of Charlie himself, there is more of him (and his family) in the novels than in the films--though little of the sidekick comic son. The films draw on exotic settings; the novels do too, but confine themselves to Hawaii, San Francisco and the rural wild west. To read them is to get a taste of what it might have been like to know Honolulu when it was still small and parochial, or San Francisco when it was just maturing from its brawling youth. Biggers has other interesting novels set in the eastern US, notably "Love Insurance" in St. Augustine, FL; and they are quite good as popular entertainment goes. But there is nothing in his work to match these five novels in which one can feel new worlds opening up for the writer. A pity he did not live to write more.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charlie Chan FAN 24 Sept. 2011
By LakeKids - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I remember watching Charlie Chan on saturday morning TV back in the "olden" days of the 1950's and I think there was a series also. Since I always liked the mysteries, thought I'd try to see if there were any books available. WELL, most were out of my price range and into the collectible catagory. I found this collection used on Amazon and it included the one story most people want to read, " The House Without a Key". The book was packaged well and arrived soon in great condition. These stories start in 1925 and you get such a wonderful picture of Hawaii in that time, plus Charlie Chan is a most interesting character. He shares his wisdom and great knowledge of people and their habits. Earl Derr Biggers creates several wonderful mysteries here and they keep you guessing until the end. And now, I have Five stories instead of only one.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great original stories--- others for the movies were written by ... 1 July 2015
By victor v. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great original stories--- others for the movies were written by other people---Charlie Chan IS NOT A PUT DOWN of Chinese people on the contrary his superior intellect and overall charm prove him a winner in all aspects of life and the other characters in the stories acknowledge this all the time.
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