The Black Camel
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The Black Camel (Charlie Chan #4)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  156 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Shelah Fane is a young, beautiful, successful, Hollywood actress. She is thinking of marrying a playboy - but decides to consult a celebrity psychic first. He hints at some dark deed in her past - and the next morning she is found dead. Can Charlie Chan and his loyal sidekick Kashimo untangle the lies and deceit that brought the black camel of death to her door?
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published February 28th 2011 by Benediction Classics (first published 1923)
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Flush with success from solving two highly complicated whodunnits in California, Charlie Chan is back in Hawaii; back to his home on Punchbowl Hill; back to his newest infant son and 10 other children. Now promoted to Inspector, Charlie's latest case takes him to the rental home of Hollywood film star Shelah Fane, who is currently in Hawaii to wrap up filming on a movie that originated in Tahiti. But the lovely Shelah won't get to finish her performance due to a deep and deadly stab wound to the...more
Jim Dooley
This one comes the closest to mimicking the early Charlie Chan films, although it naturally appeared before them. The characters are much more two-dimensional, Charlie's witticisms are more on the sarcastic side, and some plot points are conveniently glossed over until they are needed to bring the story to a conclusion.

The mystery is a strong one, reminding readers of the famous William Desmond Taylor murder case in February of 1922 that was never solved. So, the intrigue for readers of the peri...more
Larry Piper
In his fourth adventure, Charlie is back in Hawaii, albeit still dealing with California types. This time, he must investigate the murder of a hugely famous Hollywood actress. She had been filming in Tahiti, or some such place, and was going to finish up the final scenes in Hawaii. She had just arrived, was setting up a household on the beach, and had gathered a bunch of friends for a dinner party. She didn't make her expected grand entrance into the party, she was found stabbed to death in a pa...more
Who killed fading actress Sheila Fane on a moonlit night in the paradise of Hawaii? Was it her ex-husband? The beach-comber? Her millionaire suitor? The butler? Or one of five other suspects? And what does it have to do with the unsolved murder of Denny Mayo in Hollywood three years ago?? A satisfying mystery that I vaguely remember reading decades ago but had forgotten the ending.
This particular edition (Bantam, 1975) has a couple of mysteries of it's own. For starters, the red circle on the...more
"Truth is rare fruit in garden of murder." This quotation applies particularly well to this book. There are enough red herrings here to have a fish fry. Charlie is especially engaging in this book; plus we get to meet some of his very Americanized children. A delightfully misleading and mysterious story.
THE BLACK CAMEL by Earl Derr Biggers

'Death is the black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate.' This is the quote used by Charlie Chan minutes after he is called to investigate the murder of Shelah Fane a Hollywood actress who has just arrived in the Hawaiian Islands to wrap up a movie that had been begun in Tahiti. She had hoped to have some time to recuperate once filming was done. Shelah was quite famous for her work and appearance but these were on the cusp of a downhill slope, something...more
Biggers, Earl Derr. THE BLACK CAMEL. (1929). ***. Film stars, the director, and the rest of a film crew arrive in Hawaii for a lay-over after shooting a new film in Tahiti. The star, Shelah Fane, needs the rest. She also needs time to think over the answer to a proposal of marriage made by Alan Jaynes, a wealthy businessman she met on the ship (Ah!...those shipboard romances.). She is torn by the decision, and calls on her spiritual advisor, Tarneverro, to sail out from San Francisco to counsel...more
Doug Dams
A good Charlie Chan mystery. But the big clues are saved until the last chapter, so you were guessing the whole book about who murdered the movie star and why. The book's pace wasn't as fast as other books in the series, so it spent more time concerning the characters. Which was okay, as the group of suspects varied a lot. From a beachcomber to a Hollywood director to a psychic, all were linked with the murder and the alibis came and went quickly. This book was made into one of the first Charlie...more
This 1929 entry in the Charlie Chan mystery series has Charlie in Honolulu trying to find the murderer of a fading Hollywood actress from among those present at her temporary home for an evening party. Charlie has to fight through deceptions and misdirections created by various of the guests and attendants before finally solving the case. As might be expected, the writer's plot and its resolution are much more in the British mystery style than in the still evolving American style of Hammett, Cha...more
Shelah Fane returns to Hawaii from Tahiti where she has been working on a movie. With her on the ship are the movie director, her leading man, Dianna Dixon another star from the film, and the man who has asked her to marry him, Alan Van Horn. When Shelah is murdered, Charlie Chan is called in to solve the case. In addition to those already named, Shelah was met by Tarneverro the Great (a medium Shelah relies on), Julie, her employee/ward, and Mr. Bradshaw, a Hawaii publicist who has fallen in lo...more
Shelah Fane, a star whose glittering ride at the top is quickly coming to an end. Her latest movie has only a few scenes left to film in Hawaii. The book opens as the ship that she and the rest of the movie crew comes into port. There is a man who wants to marry her but she's resisting. In Hawaii, waiting for Shelah, is her staff, her ward, and the soothsayer she's called in from Los Angeles. She tells Traneverro the Great that she knows who the killer was in the famous murder of Denny Mayo from...more
While I'm still conflicted about this book's racial portrayals, I loved the story. It was a fast read with a fun plot, and now I'm going to check out the other Charlie Chan books.
After the body of screen star Shelah Fane is found brutally stabbed to death on Waikiki Beach, Charlie Chan follows a twisted path through a tangled web of alibis, false clues, and bizarre characters to the truth behind the mysterious case.
This was a delightful read, with Charlie being his charming self, full of sayings and comments. The author leads us around, making the reader suspect one character, then another. Their suspicious actions are explained and become innocent. Then it's on to some...more
As one might not expect, this #4 in a series of only 6 books written about Detective Chan does not feel like it was written in 1922. this story is set in Chan's native Hawaii when it was still a US territory. This story takes Charlie a while to unravel as a group of Hollywood stars land in Hawaii coming from Tahiti and the set of their latest picture. Fans of Charlie would love this series which is surprisingly close to the Hollywood movies we remember from Saturday and Sunday afternoons on TV....more
Jeff Bowes
Really holds up and more serious then the movie adaption.
The Charlie Chans are simply lovely. This one is set in Hawaii, unlike the 2nd and 3rd, so there's more description of Hawaii in the 20's. The mystery is quite good, some of the dialog is quite catchy -- Charlie gets in a *great* zinger to a guy expressing an ignorant anti-Chinese sentiment. I entirely recommend this book.
Bigger's Chan is smart and low-key. This story is back in Hawaii and gives an interesting picture of Hawaii in the twenties when it was still pretty isolated from the mainland. The only access was really by ship and the culture was much different than now.
Lisa Kucharski
A mystery layered with suspects, this one was adapted into a movie and I have seen it. Reading the book has some humor in it that the movie cut out for time. Worth making the time to get to read it/see it.
I liked the setting and I like Charlie Chan, but once again, the mystery failed to grip.
Have read several times over the years. Never tire of the oldies but goodies.
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Earl Derr Biggers was born in Warren, Ohio on August 24, 1884. Years later, while attending Harvard University, Biggers showed little passion for the classics, preferring instead writers such as Rudyard Kipling and Richard Harding Davis. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1907, he worked briefly for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and at Bobbs-Merrill publishers. By 1908, Biggers was hired at the...more
More about Earl Derr Biggers...
The House Without a Key (Charlie Chan, #1) The Chinese Parrot (Charlie Chan, #2) Behind That Curtain (Charlie Chan, #3) The Agony Column Charlie Chan Carries On (Charlie Chan, #5)

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“Truth is rare fruit in garden of murder.” 4 likes
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