Raquel's Reviews > The House Without a Key

The House Without a Key by Earl Derr Biggers
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's review
Jun 16, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: classic-film-books, charlie-chan, books-i-own, hawaii

This book is the first of the Charlie Chan mysteries and I was quite excited to read it. I'm a big fan of the Charlie Chan movies and wanted to read the novels that inspired them. I was a bit disappointed with this one for a few reasons. First of all, there is not enough Charlie Chan. As one of my Goodreads friends pointed out to me, Earl Derr Biggers didn't realize that character would be such a sensation. So perhaps subsequent books will have more Charlie Chan. Another thing is that I didn't really like any of the characters. I did enjoy reading about John Quincy, the main character, and his transformation from stuffy Bostonite to a free-spirited West Coaster. The ambiance and culture of both San Francisco and Hawaii as well as the murder mystery and the various women he crushes on are all factors in his transformation. Being from Boston, I never really liked to read about Boston folks being uptight, too-cultured and puritanical. And the Boston-Hawaii/San Francisco juxtaposition really works but whenever Charlie Chan shows an admiration for the cultured city of Boston I want to tell him, "no! Stay in Hawaii!". This coming from a gal who was born and raised and still lives in the Boston area. I just didn't like that. The mystery keeps evolving as the plot progresses. You don't know whodunnit until the end. The writing is very good and there is an eclectic mix of characters. The cover is gorgeous but very misleading. If you want a good mystery from the early part of the 20th century and you don't mind stuffy Bostonians and very little Charlie Chan, read the book. If you love Charlie Chan and you love Boston, skip it.
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Reading Progress

June 16, 2011 – Shelved
June 16, 2011 – Shelved as: classic-film-books
August 23, 2011 –
page 70
September 1, 2011 –
page 100
September 8, 2011 –
page 175
61.19% "I'm plugging along but terribly bored. I don't care about these rich people in Hawaii. I want more Charlie Chan."
September 13, 2011 –
page 200
Started Reading
September 20, 2011 – Finished Reading
July 16, 2013 – Shelved as: charlie-chan
October 18, 2013 – Shelved as: books-i-own
July 16, 2014 – Shelved as: hawaii

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Meaghan The books are even better than the movies!

Raquel I've been reading your blog and saw that you said you were surprised how good they were. Definitely going to try the first one. Thanks!Meaghan wrote: "The books are even better than the movies!"

message 3: by Bob (new)

Bob The Chan's are a fun read.

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