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The Chinese Parrot (Charlie Chan #2)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  379 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
The character of Charlie Chan was based in part on the experiences of two Chinese detectives, Chang Apana and Lee Fook, who Biggers had read about in a Honolulu newspaper while on vacation. Biggers wrote six Charlie Chan mysteries. The Chinese Parrot is the second book in the series and begins: Alexander Eden stepped from the misty street into the great, marble-pillared ro ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1926)
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Aug 18, 2011 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Well, it's official. After 2 Chan Chan mysteries, I'm hooked. I'm sold.

I am really enjoying this writer, this series and this smart, patient, funny and amazing Chinese detective.

Why did writer Earl Derr Biggers have to die in 1933 with only 6 Chan mystery stories under his belt? I could kill him for dying much too young! Why couldn't he have taken a page from Agatha Christie's or Georgette Heyer's playbook and been as prolific with his stories as 2 rabbits on a honeymoon?

Why, Biggers, why?

This i
Oct 05, 2011 Dfordoom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
The Chinese Parrot, published in 1926, was the second of Earl Derr Biggers’ Charlie Chan mysteries and was even more successful than its predecessor.

I was in some ways a little disappointed that this one, unlike The House Without a Key, wasn’t set in Hawaii. 1920s Honolulu was such a cool setting. There are compensations however. Charlie Chan himself moves more to centre stage in this second book and becomes a more vivid and more complex character.

The structure is interesting. At first there’s n
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Charlie Chan continues to be an engaging character and a sharp sleuth in this, the second novel in the series, even though he's transplanted from his home turf to the Californian desert. If anything, watching him improvise in a situation where he has no jurisdiction and must work incognito allows for an even more impressive performance.

I figured out the mystery once it became apparent what the actual mystery was going to be about - it takes a while for the central puzzle to emerge - but even so
Mar 21, 2016 Keith rated it liked it
I bought this a few years ago because it had a great painted cover, and promptly forgot about it until I was looking for something to read about a month ago. I'd never read a Charlie Chan novel before, and in reading it I've learned a lot of weird but obvious things about Charlie Chan novels.

You're going to read a Charlie Chan novel in 2016 and realize that it's horribly, horribly racist, but also that is has no idea it's racist and in fact is trying to be progressive. Charlie has this ridiculou
Mark Goodwin
Feb 23, 2015 Mark Goodwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read. Especially liked the characterization of the Chinese Detective, Charlie Chan.

The book was easy to follow and found no serious flaws in it deliverance. In fact, the whole situation was summed up in the final chapter and did consist of a surprise ending, at least to me (but not one that could not have been foreseen by an intelligent avid reader of mysteries).

It is somewhat racial but that is because of the era that it was written in. The author was not racist, I believe, othe
The Chinese Parrot (1926) is the second in Earl Derr Biggers's mystery series featuring Charlie Chan. The Charlie Chan stories were first serialized in The Saturday Evening Post. What is interesting is that these stories were running during the same time period as Sax Rohmer's "yellow peril" Fu Manchu. Biggers's representation of Asians may not be perfect, but it is certainly far more positive than most of the Western literature of the early 20th century. The Chinese detective from Honolulu mana ...more
Mar 12, 2011 Elena rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This was very funny and, though predictable, I enjoyed watching all the pieces fall into place. My 21st century self at first thought it was a bit racist but then I realized how often Charlie Chan was able to use his race to an advantage to find out more about the crime so I decided it wasn't. Also, Biggers clearly points out how racist some of the other characters are and does not praise them for it, so I suppose it was pretty advanced for the 1920s. At times I wondered if these novels were wri ...more
Barbara Gregorich
Dec 08, 2015 Barbara Gregorich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Biggers second Chan novel finds the detective in San Francisco rather than Hawaii. This is Charlie's first time on the mainland, but before he has a chance to enjoy the city, he is asked to help deliver a string of very valuable pearls to a millionaire residing in the almost-deserted desert town of El Dorado. But before arriving at the ranch of millionaire P.J. Madden, Charlie and Bob Eden (son of the jeweler who is sending the pearls) decide to delay the delivery of the pearls so they can inves ...more
Sam Bissell
Mar 12, 2015 Sam Bissell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers
Recently, I watched a few old Charlie Chan movies from the mid-'40s, starring Sidney Toler (who took up the reins after Warner Oland retired). These movies mesmerized me as a kid and probably are the reason I like mysteries so much as an adult. However, I had never read any of the Charlie Chan mysteries before so I looked them up at Amazon and started loading them into my Kindle. Sadly, there are only 6 specific Chan mysteries written by Earl Derr Biggers and several wannabe-Chan-mysteries writt ...more
Gilbert M.
Jun 17, 2014 Gilbert M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while I read a mystery where I figure out the whole puzzle right up front and spend the rest of the book happily uncovering evidence that my assumptions are correct. That happened to me in The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers, the second in the Charlie Chan series. I don’t know if my correct resolution means I’m brilliant or if it means that the puzzle in this book was an easy one, but it feels good to have hit one out of the park.

In The Chinese Parrot, Charlie Chan is visiti
Jim Dooley
I'll admit that if this had been the first book in the series, I wouldn't have rushed into reading the second one. It is not poorly written. In fact, it is what I would have expected in style from a mystery of this period. It almost seems like an early Charlie Chan movie (one of the better ones) with stereotyped characters in an unusual location. The central focus is not so much "Who done it?" as it is "What was done?"

The first book had rich, vibrant characters, a mystery that was truly puzzling
Kathleen Dixon
I was reading this book in a Big Print edition (a library book passed on to me by my mother), and it has no information about the author or about first publication or anything like that. However, it didn't take me long to figure that it's a reprint of a book written many years ago - the dialogue sounds like one of those black-and-white American movies (did real-life people ever really talk that way?). Now that I've finished the book I've done a little googling and discover that it was written in ...more
Jun 03, 2013 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I probably wouldn't have finished this if not for the character of Charlie Chan. He's a fascinating detective, and I always want to know more about him. Though a more-than-competent writer, Biggers is constantly redolent of slick magazine fiction -- in other words, a facile, charming writer, but fundamentally a superficial crowd pleaser. I remember another mystery of his, Behind That Curtain, being better.
Jun 09, 2014 C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clean-reads, mystery
Just an ok read.

The title and synopsis is what drew me to this book,because I am interested in parrots and I was hoping that the parrot played more of a part in the story,but it's very little,actually.

I found it very off-putting how one of the main male leads-'Bob Eden' was constantly referred to as a 'boy' when he is a fully grown adult,just felt weird like the narrator was talking about some kid!It threw me several times!

I plan to read the first book to see if I like it any better with Chan pl
Mar 20, 2008 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have read several times over the years. Never tire of the oldies but goodies.
Bobby Underwood
Nov 28, 2014 Bobby Underwood rated it it was amazing
"Trifles sometimes blossom big. Detective business consist of one unsignificant detail placed beside other of same. Then with sudden dazzle, light begins to dawn." -- Charlie Chan to Bob Eden

Charlie's first trip to the Mainland is a sparkling adventure full of mystery and old-fashioned romance that will take Earl Derr Biggers's Honolulu detective from exciting 1920's San Francisco to the purple desert. As in the first Charlie Chan novel, The House Without a Key, Biggers writes a mystery and roma
Larry Piper
Mar 15, 2016 Larry Piper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the first Charlie Chan book so much, I figured I should have a go at the second one. I rather liked it as well. I'm still a bit abashed at the racism in the book, but in a way, it's a product of its time, and in its defense, Charlie Chan is always portrayed as a good a competent person.

This story involves the sale of a very expensive string of pearls from a rich old lady, whose son has pretty much squandered her wealth, to a Wall Street tycoon. The tycoon wants the pearls delivered to h
Susan Ferguson
Jul 06, 2013 Susan Ferguson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, nook-owned, 2013
Charlie Chan ventures out of Hawaii. I woman he worked for as a child has requested her bring her valuable pearl necklace to San Francisco. She is selling it to raise money for her shiftless son. The buyer of the necklace is an autocratic man who knew Mrs Jordan when her family was extremely wealthy and he was a busboy at a hotel. He sees this as a chance for evening the score. He directs them to deliver the necklace only to him in New York, but then the jeweler receives a call ordering the neck ...more
Feb 24, 2012 Nora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed this mystery. What surprised me the most was all the derogatory and racist remarks towards the Chinese, but then when I discovered this book was published in 1926, the prejudice fits the time period. Even after i learned that the racist remarks were part of that time period I was still shocked because it was so real. The author did not need to learn about the racism towards the Chinese because he wrote the story during his own time period. Current day authors often can't capture what i ...more
Jan 26, 2013 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up not knowing it was a Charlie Chan mystery. The main story meanders through the novel, without any significant subplots, and in the end wraps up neatly. There isn't any real chance for the reader to piece together the mystery, but instead a Christie-like new fact is tacked-on at the conclusion to explain it all. The primary characters are filled out nicely, most of the dialogue sounds natural (but obviously(?) a bit dated); but the novel lacks development of the secondary charact ...more
Mar 15, 2014 C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charlie has done it again

The one and only Charlie Chan has bested the crooks again. The characters definitely are either really bad really good, but Charlie gets the bad guy and the assisting effectiveness the girl. Even knowing the end from the beginning, the story was exciting.
Tad Richards
Feb 16, 2014 Tad Richards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are surprisingly good mystery novels, with Charlie Chan as the master sleuth but not the central character. I also like the mise en scene of 1920s San Francisco, Honolulu and in this case, the desert beyond Barstow -- and the characters' frequent nostalgia for the way things used to be.
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Charlie Chan comes to the mainland carrying a string of valuable pearls for an old friend, to help her out and have a vacation. But, as young Bob Eden observes, " If you 19ve ever read a mystery story, you know that a detective never works so hard as when he 19s on a vacation". A mystery is not far behind and this puzzle is one where Charlie suspects foul play, even murder, but there is neither a body, nor any clue as to who the victim could have been. Charlie has more of an active role in this ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A Charlie Chan mystery. It was better than I expected. My husband & I read it out loud and it was hard to stop at bedtime. The mystery is really quite creative. We were both surprised by the ending.

Feb 20, 2011 Sallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Fascinating look at a time in our history now long gone. This was first published in 1926 and most of it is set in the desert outside Hollywood where people were sent when their health was bad - lungs mostly I think - but that isn't the story here. While Charlie and the young man who is there to help Charlie, solve the mystery, we get a peek at early movie making, the pull of the desert on anyone willing to give it a chance, and young love, of course. I kept picturing Warner Oland, the best movi ...more
Alaina Sloo
Throw away everything you ever thought you knew about Charlie Chan from the Charlie Chan movies of the 1930s and 40s. Earl Derr Biggers' Charlie Chan books, written in the 1920s and 1930s, are much more interesting, putting on view the commonly held stereotypes of Chinese Americans during this period and the racism they encountered. The Charlie Chan of the books is an intelligent and subtle opponent of those attitudes. The mystery is clever and great fun, and like all of the Charlie Chan books, ...more
Jan 18, 2015 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read right up to the end and kept me guessing
John Yeoman
Starts well, then collapses into banality and fathomless plot threads.
A nice well rounded mystery novel.
Michael Reale
Jan 15, 2015 Michael Reale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading The Chinese Parrot by Earl Deer Biggers was like seeing and old friend, Charlie Chan, again. It was my great grandmother whom instilled within me a love of the great detective from Honolulu. I love this book. Excellent read.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Charlie Chan (6 books)
  • The House Without a Key (Charlie Chan, #1)
  • Behind That Curtain (Charlie Chan, #3)
  • The Black Camel (Charlie Chan, #4)
  • Charlie Chan Carries On (Charlie Chan, #5)
  • Keeper of the Keys (Charlie Chan, #6)

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