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Seven Keys to Baldpate
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Seven Keys to Baldpate

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  104 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A famous author comes to a summer mountain resort in the dead of winter, determined to find peace and quiet to write his next book. But before his first night is out, a steady stream of unexpected visitors begins to fill the hotel...men and women with stories of love, loss, and flight...none of them telling the truth. Before the week is out, there will be gunfire, bribery, ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Wildside Press (first published 1913)
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Samantha Glasser
I owned this book for a few years before reading it, and I don't know what took me so long. It is a well written, sometimes clever, sometimes predictable, but always entertaining and fun mystery about an author who visits Baldpate, a summer hotel that usually houses old fashioned women and aging relics. He sees this location, abandoned and frozen in the wintertime, as the prime spot to write his first serious novel. After making his arrangements, he sets off for isolation, but soon after his arr ...more
Pamela Mclaren
Another interesting and unexpected story by Earl Derr Biggers. In this tale, the creator of Charlie Chan, has written about a young author who travels to a summer tourist town to stay in the closed hotel. He has decided that solitude will help him write a novel far different from what he has previously written. One hour after he enters the hotel, he finds that he is not the only one who has come to the hotel in Baldpate, for there are seven keys to the place and seven people with various stories ...more
M. Myers
This was a delightful period piece, set in 1912 and centering around a successful pulp novelist who goes to an isolated lodge to seek inspiration for a serious novel. Alas, other people with murky agendas start turning up to spoil the solitude -- and pull him into a mystery.

A gun is flashed. A safe is blown open. A hermit who hates women is recruited to cook. A beautiful girl the hero falls for may not be as trustworthy as he thinks.

The writing style was enjoyably quaint and the mystery engagin
...more
Mark Desetti


Not a bad book but leaves one not sure if it was intended to be real mystery or a comedy of errors - people showing up, wandering the halls of the inn, running into each other, not knowing who it is they encounter in the halls. I saw it as a somewhat comic play and thought the book would be so. Biggers can write a good mystery - I've read all the Chan books but I just can't wrap my mind around what he was trying to do here. If you read it, do so as a good period piece. It is that.
Viana
This was a fun, light read that I could easily imagine as a play. I got past the blatant sexism in the book by chalking it up to the the time period it was written. The characters seemed to have stepped right off of a Monopoly board-corrupt politicians, greedy railroad executives, and the near-do wells.
xstitchfan
First, you should know that I am a fan of Earl Derr Biggers' writing. Second, I enjoyed the Charlie Chan books more than "Seven Keys to Baldpate". That said, I still gave this book a 4 star review! It has some of the most interesting characters that I've read about in only one book. Also, I loved the ending - don't worry, no spoiler hints here. There is a reason that this story has been used as the basis of 7 Hollywood movies from 1916 to 1983. I believe the author began with the premise that mo ...more
Jo
Blind love may not be so blind.

Biggers combines romance, mystery and intrigue to keep his reader entertained. I always enjoy anything I read from Earl Derr Biggers. He's one of the great masters of detective mysteries, but he's also written novels and short stories that portray human nature at its best and at its worst.
Kaye Adkins
I have a sneaking suspicion that Derr Biggers intended the humor in this melodramatic mystery. You could even call it a farce. It's wonderfully self aware, as a writer of popular light fiction seeks solitude to write serious literature and finds himself caught up in a situation as ludicrous as one of his own plots.
Karen Gygli
I got interested in Earl Derr Biggers after reading Yunte Huang's book on the real-life Hawaiian detective that Biggers modeled his Charlie Chan novels on. This classic mystery from the early twentieth century was very funny and charming. The ending isn't going to gobsmack you like Dorothy Sayer's The Nine Tailors, and there is a little bit of Victorian melodrama, but the atmospheric setting--a New York summer resort in the middle of a snow storm, where seven people, all with a secret or two, co ...more
Jann Barber
This book was first published in 1913 and is rather dated. Yes, I read it in rehab on my iPhone Kindle.

I didn't know movie versions exist of this; Walter Brennan was in one!

Mr. McGee comes to Baldpate seeking solitude so he can pen the great American novel. Little does he know that seven keys to the doors of Baldpate exist, so his solitude is quickly ended as more people show up. It seems that these people are involved in some sort of scheme, and Mr. McGee becomes involved in trying to learn wha
...more
Terry Queally
Lots of characters

Dated but fun. I may try one of his Charlie Chan books next. I missed the gathering of all the suspects and the final reveal.
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Cheryl
A diverting chase for a McGuffin in the 'teens of the 20th c. Fisticuffs, pretty girls, colorful characters with disreputable motives. It's easy to read; it does keep you guessing until all the threads are tied up; it's written in a lively, light-hearted style. Not as interesting as the Hawaii setting of Biggers's Charlie Chan works. I do have to say I need to take a break from early twentieth-century light fiction for a while, though. A few too many switcheroos and clever ripostes can result in ...more
Bea Bolinger
I bought this book when I stayed at the Baldpate Inn in Estes Park, Colorado. And for that reason alone I'm not going to talk about its literary failings. It is after all over 100 years old and still a charming example of pulp fiction at the turn of the 20th century, sexist comments and racial slurs included. I would recommend "And Then There Were None" by the Agatha Christie in place of this one, although for a one time read on vacation it wasn't the worse you could do. I left it at the lending ...more
Lisa
Feb 11, 2013 Lisa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
This story had many elements for being great but it was rather boring. It felt like there was a lot of things happening but it all happened so slowly and the characters all pretended as if nothing has happened. It gave the impression that nothing was actually happening and nothing was really going to happen.

It was certainly mysterious. With every new character that appears, there was another mystery as to how they related to the story.
Janet
Lightweight fun mystery.
Donna
Fun mystery published in 1913. I liked Biggers The Agony Column better but this had its moments. A variety of suspicious characters show up at a deserted resort in the dead of winter scrambling for possession of a bundle of money. The romance aspect was silly but it was an entertaining read.
J.
A diverting light mystery with a writing style similar to a number of other early 20th century writers. Snappy dialogue, damsels in distress and the hero falling desperately in love with a petite blond. Evidently, the version of the story done as a play with George Cohen, has a much different ending and is more farcical.
Mel
This book has been made into something like 7 or 8 movies. The one I've seen is House of the Long Shadows, which bears little resemblance to the book. But it's because of the movie that I tracked down a copy of the book and read it. I was expecting a bad murder mystery, so those expectations skewed my perspective.
Tiffany
I saw this play and liked it so thought I would read the book. They were quite a bit different. The play was a lot sillier and faced paced. The book was interesting to read though. It was suspenseful and well written. I enjoyed it except for the occasional swear word thrown in.
Natalien
Mystery house novel with a hint of romance. Fun to read. I'm happy to report there was humour in the beginning of 20th Century. I want to be a professional hermit, too. Also, I'm glad more women nowadays don't see themselves as only an addition to a man and a cooking machine.
Richard
A pretty good read. I recall vaguely seeing the play version as a kid and wanted to try it. The style is comic and droll, but probably moves slowly for a modern audience. The last 1/4 is a bit drawn out and the twist comes well before the end. Overall enjoyable and melodramatic.
Surreysmum
This novel, where more and more people keep showing up at a closed-for-winter inn, each with his or her own agenda, is great fun and full of humorous characters. Very much in the key of farce, with twists and turns all the way to the end - enjoyed it quite a bit.
Cindy Barnett
Interesting novel from one of the early masters of the genre.
Available free in eBook or Audiobook:
Librivox.org
Gutenberg.org
James
Not as good as his Charlie Chan books. Have visited Baldpate Inn in Estes Park, Colorado. Quite the key collection, including a key to a submarine.
Danielle
Amusing and action packed with colorful and interesting characters. A good light read.
Gail Boyce
Interesting portrait of life 90 years ago by the author that created Charlie Chan.
Andrea Adams
I was in this production in high school in 1983. Melodrama. Fun.
Mary
This book is available as a free eBook. I added it to my Nook.
Greg Stoll
Good mystery novel, although the language is a bit archaic.
Nev Thomas
Very Good.Recommended
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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 Black Camel (Charlie Chan, #4) The Agony Column

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