Saturday, March 26, 2011

Unlikely pairing

I probably shouldn't have read a Charlie Chan mystery so shortly after having finished all my Raymond Chandler novels. It just didn't hold up nearly as well as it might have without Marlowe breathing down my neck. Plus, I'd read the essays and letters that were in my Chandler collection and he definitely was a snob about mysteries. I don't think he's ruined the genre for me but he did make me realize that some of the "greats" were really about puzzles and not true to life in the least.

Anyway, I never saw any of the Charlie Chan movies so now I might have to so that I fully understand them. Nevertheless, The Chinese Parrot was amusing. It 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 written with the hopes that they would become movies since there was almost too much dialogue.

Since Sergio pointed out to me that I had the cut-off date for the Vintage Mystery Challenge wrong, I can now include The Long Goodbye. It could be subtitled, "Marlowe Makes a Friend and Gets Used." Or, "How to Make a Gimlet the Right Way." But I did really like it, don't get me wrong. Lots of turns and confusion and a real love-interest this time, though he doesn't seem to find her that attractive at first, at least not compared to the beautiful woman he has to fight off in one scene. Lots of hidden identities too.

1. Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham
2. Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
3. The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers
4. Detection Unlimited by Georgette Heyer
5. The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin
6. something by Ellery Queen
7. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
8. Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh
9. Black Orchids by Rex Stout
10. The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout
11. The Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
12. The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing
13. The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy
14. The High Window by Raymond Chandler
15. The Lady in the Lake by Chandler
16. The Little Sister by Chandler
17. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
Half-way there!


Elena said...
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Bev Hankins said...

Great review! I like your comments on the Charlie Chan novel (trying to decide if it was racist or not). I still need to read a Charlie Chan novel. I have one on the TBR pile (along with hundreds of others...).

I've got you updated on the progress post.