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Benson Murder Case [1926] - Philo Vance #1 - Scribners 1st Ed.

The plot opens with the sensational murder of Alvin Benson, a well-known Wall Street broker and man-about-town, and the entire book is devoted, without a single irrelevant side issue, to the startling solution of the criminal problem involved. New York's District Attorney and the best men from the Homicide Bureau work indefatigably on the case; but the final solution is achieved by Philo Vance, an intimate friend of the District Attorney's, and the central character of the book. Philo Vance is a brilliant, debonair, and cultured young gentleman, whose astonishing methods of crime detection are based on the solid foundation of learning and psychological analysis; and his deductive approach to criminal problems, coupled with his vivid and magnetic personality., constitutes an entirely new and, we believe, better type of detective-mystery fiction. The drama is tense throughout; and each succeeding chapter marks a forward step in the working out of an absorbing and thrilling problem.

Benson Murder Case - S. S. Van Dine


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Canary Murder Case  [1927] - Philo Vance #2 -  1st Ed.

Philo Vance, the psycho-sleuth, is invited to aid his friend Markham, the district attorney, and Sergeant Heath of the Homicide Bureau in their efforts to discover the murderer of the Canary, a noted Broadway blonde who is found strangled in her apartment on West 71st Street. The only entrance to the apartment is thru the main hall past the telephone operator's booth. Thus the number of suspects is narrowed down to four men known to have been enamored of the Canary. It is one of the best of the recent detective stories, compact, swift, and well articulated, with sufficient exciting detail and enough variety of complication to exercise the ingenuity of the reader continuously. From the moment of its beginning with the discovery of the murder to the final revelation of her destroyer the pace of the story never flags.

Canary Murder Case - S. S. Van Dine


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Greene Murder Case  [1928] - Philo Vance #3 - 1st Ed.

The victims of this criminal tragedy are the members of an old wealthy New York family living in an ancient walled-in mansion near the East River. A pall of tragic horror suddenly descends on the household; and such terrible consequences ensue that the Greene murder case immediately becomes one of the greatest sensations in American police annals. The gloomy Greene mansion is the scene of a double tragedy. The eldest sister is shot and killed, the youngest, a sister by adoption, is wounded by an unknown intruder. While Philo Vance and his friend Markham, the district attorney, are at work on the case the two Greene brothers are killed. This leaves alive in the sinister household the mother, who is a helpless invalid, Sibella the daughter, and Ada the adopted sister. It is Philo Vance, debonair psycho-sleuth and intimate friend of the district attorney, who eventually solves the problem by the unique psychological methods of deduction.

Greene Murder Case - S. S. Van Dine


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Bishop Murder Case  [1929] - Philo Vance #4 - 1st Ed.

Joseph C. Robin, champion archer, is mysteriously pierced through the heart by an arrow. The body is discovered on the archery range alongside the home of Professor Bertrand Dillard on 75th Street, near Riverside Drive. The Police Department and the district attorney's office are immediately notified; and there follows a criminal investigation fraught with the tensest drama and the most baffling horrors. There are more murders and in each case the facetious murderer calls himself the Bishop. It is his pleasant habit after each murder to suggest a false clue in a little nursery rhyme, which, considering the circumstances of the crimes, gives the case a particularly mystifying and fiendish appearance.

Bishop Murder Case - S. S. Van Dine


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Scarab Murder Case  [1930] - Philo Vance #5 - 1st Ed.

Benjamin H. Kyle, philanthropist and art patron, is found murdered in a famous private museum in Gramercy Park. He has been struck over the head with a statue of Sekhmet, the Egyptian goddess of vengeance, and is lying in a pool of blood, his arms outstretched toward a life-size statue of Anubis, the god of the dead. The principal clew [clue] to the murder is a small lapis-lazuli scarab of Intef V, a Pharaoh of the Seventeenth Dynasty. The crime proves to be one of the most amazing and diabolical in modern police history. The investigation is headed by John F. X. Markham, District Attorney of New York, and Sergeant Heath of the Homicide Bureau. But it is Philo Vance who eventually solves the murder by his unique psychological methods of detection.

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Kennel Murder Case  [1933] - Philo Vance #6 - 1st Ed.

Archer Coe, a collector of Chinese ceramics, is found dead in his bedroom, the only door to which is securely bolted on the inside. District Attorney John F. X. Markham and Sergeant Heath of the Homicide Bureau -- and even the Medical Examiner -- regard Coe's death as suicide. But Philo Vance soon proves that it is a sinister and subtly concocted murder. The circumstances surrounding it are so mysterious and contradictory that, for a while, it looks as if no solution were possible. But in the end Philo Vance, through his knowledge of Chinese ceramics and Scottish terriers, brings the case to a conclusion as satisfactory as it is startling. The story moves swiftly, one mystery piling up on another. For sheer action and suspense, and for interesting characterization, it is one of the very best of Mr. Van Dine's Philo Vance novels.

Kennel Murder Case - S. S. Van Dine


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Dragon Murder Case  [1933] - Philo Vance #7 - 1st Ed.

Sanford Montague, on a weekend house party at the century-old Stamm estate in Inwood, dives into a private swimming pool one night, and fails to rise to the surface. The tragedy is reported to the Homicide Bureau. After an investigation Sergeant Heath calls on District Attorney Markham and Philo Vance to tell them of his grave suspicions. The swimming pool -- known as the Dragon Pool -- is drained the next day with the most astounding and blood-chilling results. The Dragon Pool, long regarded as the home of the Amangemokdom (the devil-monster of the Lenape Indians), more than lives up to its sinister reputation. In the end Philo Vance , with his knowledge of dragon lore and his deep insight into human nature, clears up one of the cleverest and most awe-inspiring murders of modern times.

Dragon Murder Case - S. S. Van Dine


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Casino Murder Case  [1934] - Philo Vance #8 - 1st Ed.

This new Van Dine murder case deals with three unusual poisonings. Philo Vance is immediately called in, and actually witnesses one of the coups of the murderer. District Attorney Markham and Sergeant Heath of the Homicide Bureau both play an exciting part in the sinister criminal investigation. The locale shifts between New York's fashionable gambling resorts and the social life of Park Avenue. The "Casino" is a famous moder Canfield's to which the elite and the wealthy go for relaxation and excitement -- an American Monte Carlo. Situated in one of the famous old mansions of Manhattan, this fashionable gambling club is the principal scene of the most baffling murder mystery that S.S. Van Dine has yet conceived. An it is in this colorful atmosphere that Philo Vance, cosmopolite, gourmet and criminologist, with his knowledge of gambling systems and the intricacies of the gambling table, brings the murderer to justice.



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Garden Murder Case  [1935] - Philo Vance #9 - 1st Ed.

The background of this new Van Dine murder case is horse racing, with fascinating details of the "hay burners", book-makers, pari-mutuel betting, jockeys, handicapping, and the history and gossip of the race track.  The garden in which the first murder is committed is a New York skyscraper roof garden, and the crime occurs during the running of one of America's great handicap races.  Philo Vance, who is present at the time, "playing the ponies" with a group of sportsmen, hears the shot, and is the first to discover the body of the victim.  He immediately reports the murder to District Attorney Markham and Sergeant Heath of the Homicide Bureau; and the exciting investigation that follows reveals one of the most amazing and sensational crimes of modern times.  A second murder, more subtle than the first, is perpetrated as the investigation proceeds.  Mr. Van Dine has never written a more absorbing or more logical story of crime.  It moves swiftly and dramatically to a dénouement which leaves the reader breathless.



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Kidnap Murder Case  [1936] - Philo Vance #10 - 1st Ed.

This new Van Dine kidnap-murder case deals with two of the most unusual crimes in the whole recorrd of Philo Vance's criminological researches. Kaspar Kenting, a playboy and ne'er-do-well, disappears from his ancestral home, the "Purple House," in West 86th Street, with all indications pointing to kidnapping. Both District Attorney John F.X. Markham and Sergeant Ernest Heath of the Homicide Bureau participate, with Philo Vance, in the exciting investigation. In "The Kidnap Murder Case" Philo Vance runs into the gravest personal danger, and it is through the accuracy of his aim, at a crucial moment, that he saves Sergeant Heath's life as well as his own. The locale of this amazing crime shifts from one of the most fascinating residential landmarks in mid-town Manhattan to a sordid and obscure hovel on the Upper East Side. The account moves with arresting swiftness to a dramatic climax and will appeal even to those readers who heretofore have not been especially interested in this type of fiction.



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Gracie Allen Murder Case  [1938] - Philo Vance #11 - 1st Ed.

Mr. Van Dine, in this new book, puts Gracie Allen and George Burns into a real Philo Vance murder mystery, with Gracie helping Philo in her own inimitably nitwit way to put the final finger on the killer. The scene of the story is New York. Its action ranges from the hillside near Riverdale where Philo Vance first meets Gracie Allen, to a nightclub in the West Fifties where suspicious characters gather. The murder is peculiarly diabolic and is solved through Philo Vance's knowledge of rare perfumes -- and the invaluable assistance given him by Gracie Allen, whose sweetheart, George Burns, is head perfume smeller in the In-O-Scent Perfume Company. To a baffling puzzle Mr. Van Dine has added a lavish helping of the kind of hilarity for which Gracie Allen is famous, and the sum total is a first-class Philo Vance story, with District Attorney Markham and Sergeant Heath, plus more humor than one usually finds in a shopful of mysteries.

Gracie Allen Murder Case - S. S. Van Dine


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Winter Murder Case  [1939] - Philo Vance #12 - 1st Ed.



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Canary Murder Case  - Philo Vance #2 - Photoplay Ed.

The 1929 Paramount  release was directed by Malcolm St. Clair, and starred William Powell and Louise Brooks.  A beautiful showgirl, name "the Canary" is a scheming nightclub singer. Blackmailing is her game and with that she ends up dead. But who killed "the Canary". All the suspects knew and were used by her and everyone had a motive to see her dead. The only witness to the crime has also been 'rubbed out'. Only one man, the keen, fascinating, debonair detective Philo Vance, would be able to figure out who is the killer.

Canary Murder Case - S S Van Dine


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Greene Murder Case  - Philo Vance #3 - Photoplay Ed.

The 1929 Paramount release was directed by Frank Tuttle, and starred William Powell and Florence Eldridge. The intricate plot finds gentleman detective Philo Vance assisting his old friends District Attorney Markham and Sergeant Heath in a case of multiple and attempted murders at the Greene Mansion in New York's Upper East Side. It seems that someone is killing members of the Greene family, ostensibly for a stake in the large inheritance left by the long dead patriarch, Tobias Greene, whose fortune was accumulated (we come to suspect) by less than honorable means.

Greene Murder Case - S S Van Dine


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Bishop Murder Case  - Philo Vance #4 - Photoplay Ed.

The 1930 MGM release was directed by Nick Grinde, and starred Basil Rathbone and Leila Hyarns. The murders start with the body of Robin. He is found with a arrow through the heart, but Vance deduces that the body was placed and not found where he was killed. The note found dealing with the murder was part of a nursery rhyme and signed by 'Bishop'. The only witness may have been Mrs. Drukker and Adolph, but they are not talking. As the murders progress, each one is accompanied by a nursery rhyme. It is up to Philo Vance to unravel the clues and unmask the identity of the murderer 'Bishop'.

Bishop Murder Case - S S Van Dine


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Last Revision August 24, 2007 03:48 PM