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Earl Derr Biggers Books In Order

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Publication Order of Charlie Chan Books

The House Without a Key (1925)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Chinese Parrot (1926)Description / Buy at Amazon
Behind That Curtain (1928)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Black Camel (1929)Description / Buy at Amazon
Charlie Chan Carries On (1930)Description / Buy at Amazon
Keeper of the Keys (1932)Description / Buy at Amazon
Charlie Chan in the Temple of the Golden Horde (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Charlie Chan Collections

Celebrated Cases of Charlie Chan (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Seven Keys to Baldpate (1913)Description / Buy at Amazon
Love Insurance (1914)Description / Buy at Amazon
Inside the Lines (1915)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Agony Column (1916)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ebony Stick (1916)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fifty Candles (1926)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Earl Derr Biggers Tells Ten Stories (1933)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

30 Eternal Masterpieces of Humorous Stories(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Outright distinguished, stellar in his craft, and worth his salt, Earl Derr Biggers was an American word-slinger whose bibliography awed and inspired bibliophiles and filmmakers in equal measure. Biggers penned splendid plays which prompted film and theatrical adaptations, authored superb novels which warranted reading by book lovers, wrote attention-grabbing short stories, and crafted a literary serie which fed the filmmakers’ spools.

Who is this scribble? Meet Earl Derr Biggers. He was born on August 26, 1894, in Warren City, located in Ohio State, the US. He was born to father Robert J. Biggers and mother Emma Derr Biggers. He attended Warren High School, class of 1903. As a college student, Earl Derr Biggers used to write especially short stories for various Boston-based publications. Biggers, whose literary work is shelved as mystery and crime genres, is an alumnus of Harvard University and graduated from the said institution in 1907. He had a short stint as a humorist for the Boston Traveler, one of the several variant titles of dailies associated with the then Boston Evening Traveler. The publication’s management promoted Biggers to the position of a drama editor two years thereafter.

In 1912, after having worked for the publication for three years, Earl Derr Biggers started writing plays reviews which were out-and-out scathing criticism. He was sacked. In 1914, he married his wife, Eleanor Ladd, who was also a staff writer with the same publication. Biggers, who was a novelist-cum-playwright, died of heart attack aged 48. He passed away on April 5, 1933, in Pasadena City, Los Angeles County upon California. His legacy outlived him and the celebrated character Charlie Chan lives on.

Earl Derr Biggers: Inspiration and Early Publishing Career
Among the authors who inspired Earl Derr Biggers include American journalist-cum-writer Richard Harding Davis and British novelist-cum-poet Joseph Rudyard Kipling. The sacking of Earl Derr Biggers from the Boston Traveler coincided with the drafting of his first book. The novel manuscript, which was published in 1913, was titled Seven Keys to Baldplate. In 1914, he penned a play titled You’re Only Human and this marked his entry into writing plays. This continued in suchlike vein.

Like the many novelists who have a hard time trying to get a good literary foothold with their initial work, Earl Derr Biggers was no exception. Biggers only had his big break in 1925 by virtue of introducing the famous fictitious detective Charlie Chan. Incidentally, this was 12 years after he debuted and, worse still, eight years before his untimely death.

The House Without a Key: A Summary
The first series and inarguably the most famous of his work which Earl Derr Biggers authored is titled Charlie Chan. The first book in the Charlie Chan series was first published in 1925 titled The House Without a Key. This book is shelved as mystery genre. Investigator Charlie Chan is the featured protagonist (though his role is relatively limited) in the Charlie Chan series of novels penned by Earl Derr Biggers.

Protagonist Charlie Chan is a me-too version of a real-life detective called Chang Apana. Apana, who has since passed away, was a Hawaiian of Chinese ancestry and served in the Honolulu Police Department; he was a decorated detective. Biggers’ fictitious version also serves in the said department, albeit with the rank of a police inspector and his nationality is Chinese American (during Apana’s time, Hawaii had not been integrated into the larger US).

The book is set in Waikiki region of Hawaii during the 1920s. John Quincy Winterslip, who is a bond broker and a resident of Boston, has been sent to Hawaii by his kith; he has been instructed to come for his aunt, called Minerva, who is wanted back home. By a stroke of bad luck and coincidence, Dan, who is Winterslip’s uncle and apparently had a much sought-after secret, drops dead in the same night he arrives.

Detective Charlie Chan, who is the best sleuth in Hawaii, comes in in this particular context. Hawaii is a melting pot of races, cultures, and backgrounds. Among the Hawaii residents is an appealing girl which Winterslip chanced upon in San Francisco; this girl is now in Hawaii, assisting her unpopular father and proprietor of a hotel. Luckily for Chan, Hawaii has an impressive and comprehensive record keeping system. Winterslip assists the investigator unearth the clues, find out the reasons behind the killing, and identify the mysterious guests who were with the deceased in the run-up to the death.

The Chinese Parrot: A Summary
The second novel in the Charlie Chan series produced by Earl Derr Biggers is called The Chinese Parrot. This book, which has since been published in over 40 other editions, was initially published in 1926. The book revolves around a mysterious tycoon who had a penchant for bizarre pets. One of the pets asked a query in Chinese language just before it died; this prompts sleuth Charlie Chan to travel far and wide hellbent on seeking the answer to the question.

Earl Derr Biggers: TV Shows and Film Adaptations
The literary work of Earl Derr Biggers, especially the famous Charlie Chan series, has been made into excellent and acclaimed films in various languages such as Chinese and Spanish. Did you know that there is an estimated forty four films featuring detective Charlie Chan? The following are some of the most notable ones.

In 1926, the film called The House Without a Key was released. George Kuwa, an actor from Japan, starred as Charlie Chan. In 1927, a film titled The Chinese Parrot was released and Kamiyama Sojin starred in it. E.L. Park, a Korea national and actor, appeared as Chan in a film called Behind that Curtain. In the 1931 film called Charlie Chan carries on, Warner Oland, a Swede actor, portrayed Chan.

Oland has starred in over ten other films featuring Charlie Chan; for example, in 1936, a film titled Charlie Chan’s Secret. Roland Winters starred in the 1949 film called Sky Dragon, Sidney Toler was the starring in Dangerous Money, and Peter Ustinov appeared as Chan in Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen. An example of a TV show is the New Adventures of Charlie Chan which ran in the 1940s. There are other radio adaptations, theatrical plays, board games, and comic books and comic strips.

Earl Derr Biggers: Sum Up
To sum it up, Earl Derr Biggers accomplished so much in a short time. He possibly would have published subsequent books in the Charlie Chan series had he lived longer. Biggers is a posthumous inductee of Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame courtesy of Warren High School.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Earl Derr Biggers

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