Overview

The train had left Sacramento some distance behind, and was now bravely beginning the long climb that led to the high Sierras and the town of Truckee. Little patches of snow sparkled in the late afternoon sun along the way, and far ahead snow-capped peaks suddenly stood out against the pale sky of a reluctant spring.

Two conductors, traveling together as though for safety, came down the aisle and paused at section seven. "Tickets on at ...
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Keeper Of The Keys

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Overview

The train had left Sacramento some distance behind, and was now bravely beginning the long climb that led to the high Sierras and the town of Truckee. Little patches of snow sparkled in the late afternoon sun along the way, and far ahead snow-capped peaks suddenly stood out against the pale sky of a reluctant spring.

Two conductors, traveling together as though for safety, came down the aisle and paused at section seven. "Tickets on at Sacramento," demanded the leader. The occupant of the section, a pretty blonde girl who seemed no more than twenty, handed him the small green slips. He glanced at them, then passed one to his companion. "Seat in Seven," he said loudly. "Reno."

"Reno," echoed the Pullman conductor, in an even louder tone.

They passed on, leaving the blonde girl staring about the car with an air that was a mixture of timidity and defiance. This was the first time, since she had left home the day before, that she had been so openly tagged with the name of her destination. All up and down the car, strange faces turned and looked at her with casual curiosity. Some smiled knowingly; others were merely cold and aloof. The general public in one of its ruder moments.

One passenger only showed no interest. Across the aisle, in section eight, the girl noted the broad shoulders and back of a man in a dark suit. He was sitting close to the window, staring out, and even from this rear view it was apparent that he was deeply engrossed with his own affairs. The young woman who was bound for Reno felt somehow rather grateful toward him.

Presently he turned, and the girl understood, for she saw that he was a Chinese. A race that minds its own business. An admirable race. This member of it was plump and middle-aged. His little black eyes were shining as from some inner excitement; his lips were parted in a smile that seemed to indicate a sudden immense delight. Without so much as a glance toward number seven, he rose and walked rapidly down the car.

Arrived on the front platform of the Pullman, he stood for a moment deeply inhaling the chilly air. Then again, as though irresistibly, he was drawn to the window. The train was climbing more slowly now; the landscape, wherever he looked, was white. Presently he was conscious of some one standing behind him, and turned. The train maid, a Chinese girl of whose guarded glances he had been conscious at intervals all afternoon, was gazing solemnly up at him.

"How do you do," the man remarked, "and thank you so much. You have arrived at most opportune moment. The need to speak words assails me with unbearable force. I must release flood of enthusiasm or burst. For at this moment I am seeing snow for the first time."

"Oh--I am so glad!" answered the girl. It was an odd reply, but the plump Chinese was evidently too excited to notice that.

"You see, it is this way," he continued eagerly. "All my life I can remember only nodding palm trees, the trade winds of the tropics, surf tumbling on coral beach--"

"Honolulu," suggested the girl.
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Editorial Reviews

Jason Black
Keeper of the Keys is a suspenseful novel which manages to provide ample action while, at the same time, is essentially character driven. The reader is immediately drawn into Ray and Leigh’s world wanting them to reconnect. However, there are many increasingly disturbing facts about Ray’s childhood which demand explanation. Readers will certainly identify with Ray and Leigh as well as Kat, but the older generation represented by Leigh’s parents and Ray’s mother evoke.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012994905
  • Publisher: Purple Cow Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 181 KB

Meet the Author

The son of Robert J. and Emma E. (Derr) Biggers, Earl Derr Biggers was born in Warren, Ohio, and graduated from Harvard University in 1907. Many of his plays and novels were made into movies. He was posthumously inducted into the Warren City Schools Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.[1]

His novel Seven Keys to Baldpate led to seven films of the same title and at least two with different titles (House of the Long Shadows, Haunted Honeymoon) but essentially equivalent plots. George M. Cohan adapted the novel as an occasionally revived stage play of the same name. Cohan starred in the 1917 film version (one of his rare screen appearances) and the film version he later wrote (released in 1935) is perhaps the best known of the seven film versions.

Biggers lived in San Marino, California, and died in a Pasadena, California, hospital after suffering a heart attack in Palm Springs, California. He was 48.
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