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Seven Keys to Baldpate Paperback – January 18, 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Earl Derr Biggers was an American novelist and playwright. He is very famous for his novels, especially those featuring the fictional Chinese American detective Charlie Chan, from which popular films were made in the United States and China. The Charlie Chan series includes six best selling detective novels The House Without a Key, The Chinese Parrot, Behind that Curtain, The Black Camel, Charlie Chan Carries On, and Keeper of the Keys. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Wildside Press; 2nd edition (January 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159224078X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592240784
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By bernie HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A light weight writer, Mr. McGee, besides that it is time for him to write a classic novel; in an effort to write this novel he needed to find a place for perfect solitude. That place turns out to be an inn that was closed for the winter high up on Baldpate Mountain. Little did he know that there were seven Keys to Baldpate Inn. With each key can a person or persons with unique characteristics and a good reason for being there. If you can believe who they are and their reasons. Mr. McGee suspects them all of being some part of a convoluted plot which nobody will let him in on.

We go along for the ride. There is no use speculating. And Mr. McKee's chivalry may be his undoing. Be sure to read the book to the last sentence.

I came to this book after watching the 1935 version of Seven Keys to Baldpate with Walter Brennan as the station master. I have still to see the play however the movie was more based on the play than the book. Some of the statements were directly out of the book but many others had that Cohan feel.

Meantime the book stands alone as a great example of a 1913 Earl Derr Biggers mischief and mystery.
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Format: Paperback
Published in 1913, Earl Derr Biggers' novel is a fun and rapid-paced read for fans of classic mystery fiction. The protagonist is a popular writer of the day who comes to a vacant mountain resort ('Baldpate') in winter, seeking solitude for writing a serious novel. Soon six more visitors arrive, not revealing their true identity or explaining why they have come. The tale becomes a mystery of who has the hidden package, what are people's motivations, and what will the outcome be of the protagonist's love for a beautiful mystery woman.

If you believe quality detective fiction emerged in 1980, avoid this volume. You should note that this book was written seven years before passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote, and stereotypical notions of how women should 'surrender' to men are present. Still, the book has elements not unlike those of Agatha Christie's writing...or perhaps Christie on testosterone: an isolated environment, interesting plot twists, plenty of action, and the guy and gal happily uniting in the end. The dialog and action are more light-hearted than hard-boiled.

The energy, good-cheer, and rapid-pacing of the story will captivate most readers. This is a fun return to the days of yesteryear.
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Format: Hardcover
SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE concerns a novelist, Billy Magee, who seeks isolation to begin his next work and hopes to find it at Baldpate Inn, a mountainside resort now closed for the winter. When he takes up residence, however, he is startled to find his isolation repeatedly broken by a host of unexpected visitors, all of whom seem to be lying about their backgrounds and their reasons for arrival.

Originally published in 1913, BALDPATE was among the most popular novels of its day--and its mixture of mystery and comic banter proved equally popular on both stage and screen. The basic premise would also prove very influential over the years. Still, and in spite of the deft touch with which Biggers handles the material, today the novel reads as highly artificial in both tone and construction. Fans of period pop fiction will likely enjoy it, but the book is unlikely to hold many charms for other readers.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Biggers is always an enjoyable read. See the other reviews as they will tell the story. I am here only to tell you not to hold Biggers accountable for all the typos! If you can find this story printed by anyone other than Wildside Press, please do so. The typos are so numerous that I doubt Wildside Press had anyone proof read before printing. Be forewarned, but do add this story to your collection or just read it for the delightful, light story that it is.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If Earl Biggers is remembered at all today, it's as the author of the Charlie Chan mysteries. This novel is even older-- it was published in 1913. George Cohan adapted it into a play, which in turn spawned numerous movie adaptations.

The story shows its age, but is not bad if you can get past some old-fashioned prose and outdated ideas (there are, for example, a lot of jokes about the ridiculous idea of allowing women to vote). A semi-humorous mystery, the story is about an author of popular mystery novels who seeks seclusion in a summer resort hotel which is shut up for the winter, so he can have the privacy to write a "serious" novel. But all sorts of people start showing up at the supposed-to-be-empty hotel, all telling improbable stories of how and why they got there, and the author finds himself in the middle of a plot resembling one of his own novels. I wouldn't call this a classic, but I didn't drop it halfway through either; it's a pleasant enough read if you have a taste for early 20th century fiction.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have wanted to read this book ever since I saw the movie, "House of the Long Shadows" (which is based on the book). Surprisingly the book is nothing like the movie (or should that be the other way 'round?) It is a charming tale that keeps you guessing, and is an intriguing, historical look at how people spoke and acted in the early 1900s.

If you haven't seen the movie, it is worth a look. It stars four actors from the early horror genre: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, and John Carradine. It also stars Desi Arnaz, Jr. It's a funny, creepy-old-house movie with some knuckle-biting scenes. It is set in Wales, so the name of the manor house is changed from "Baldpate" to "Bllyddrpaetwr" or some such spelling!

I really enjoyed reading this book - just be prepared to overlook all the typos.
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