The Black Camel

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The Black Camel
First edition dust cover
AuthorEarl Derr Biggers
CountryUnited States
SeriesCharlie Chan
GenreMystery, Novels
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Preceded byBehind That Curtain 
Followed byCharlie Chan Carries On 

The Black Camel (1929) is the fourth of the Charlie Chan novels by Earl Derr Biggers.

Plot summary[edit]

It tells the story of a Hollywood star (Shelah Fane), who is stopping in Hawaii after she finished shooting a film on location in Tahiti. She is murdered in the pavilion of her rental house in Waikiki during her stay. The story behind her murder is linked with the three-year-old murder of another Hollywood actor and also connected with an enigmatic psychic named Tarneverro. Chan, in his position as a detective with the Honolulu Police Department, "investigates amid public clamor demanding that the murderer be found and punished immediately. "Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate. Tonight black camel has knelt here", Chan tells the suspects."[1]

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations[edit]

It was adapted into a film of the same name based on the book and released in 1931. This was the second of a series of sixteen Chan films to feature Warner Oland as the sleuth.


  1. ^ Roseman, Mill et al. Detectionary. New York: Overlook Press, 1971. ISBN 0-87951-041-2

2. In Robert A. Heinlein's 1970 novel I Will Fear No Evil, the kneeling black camel reference is employed as a euphemism for death near the start of chapter 2.

3. In Robert A. Heinlein's first published work, a short story called "Lifeline", Dr. Pinero says "I can tell you when the Black Camel will kneel at your door."

External links[edit]