In a nutshell: how can being smarter than everyone around you be a bad thing? As stereotypes go, I've never seen much wrong with this kind, but then I am not of Asian descent so I am not, perhaps, as sensitive as I should be. But to me, Charlie Chan is a brilliant detective who solves all the cases he takes on - he was always the smartest guy in the room. Far as I saw, he was treated with respect and deference by those around him, his thoughts, ideas and deductions always taken seriously. Plus: he ALWAYS got his murderer. At one point, he even saves the Panama Canal from saboteurs! Kind of hard to find fault with that kind of role model.
This is the excellent New Yorker piece about the new non-fiction Chan book: Charlie Chan: The Untold History of the Honorable Detective and His Rendevouz with American History by Yunte Huang.
I love the Charlie Chan films and I do continue to line them up on my Netflix queue whenever I'm in the mood for a damn good mystery.
Here's a short list of some of my favorite Chan films:
Charlie Chan on Treasure Island
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum
Charlie Chan at the Opera
Charlie Chan in Panama
Castle in the Desert
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise
A few weeks ago I blogged about the terrific trade paperback editions of the Charlie Chan books by Earl Derr Biggers, released last year by Academy Chicago Publishers. They are still good mystery reads.
What do you think about all this? Pro or con?