Behind That Curtain (1928) 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.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.42(d)|
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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 suits are 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.
¿Missing Women and a Pair of Chinese Slippers¿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¿.
...in my humble opinion this novel, the third of Biggers' Charlie Chan books, has everything and contains the most Mystique of the 6 Chan novels. Sir Frederick Bruce, a retired Scotland Yard inspector, is murdered, Charlie is trying desperately to sail back to the islands and his family, A female lawyer-District Attorney who's unsure of herself and bullies Charlie into taking the case, and an unsolved murder from decades earlier! And this is the first novel where Biggers begins to include more of the wonderful "aphorisms" Detective Chan is famous for, after probably realizing his public "demands and loves" them! And some are deliciously, politically incorrect as the time they were written (1928): "Women were not made for heavy thinking, but should decorate scenery like blossom of the plum". Biggers' first two novels only contained four and three aphorisms, respectively; while "Behind That Curtain" has no less than 21! So enter the world of our oriental sleuth as he matches with Scotland Yard, and a murderer who will stop at nothing! Curl up in your favorite armchair and enter the world of Charlie Chan...you won't be sorry. Thank you so much.
This book, the third in the series I think is the best so far. With some series books the author changes the location (where the story is taking place) and sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. I wasn't as fond of the 2nd book 'The chinese Parrot' because of the location. This book fits in just where I would expect Charlie Chan to be.