Category Archives: SS Van Dine

WHOSE BODY? (1923) by Dorothy L. Sayers

It has been years since I read anything by Sayers and I thought it would be interesting to go back to the debut of Lord Peter, who initially is very much presented as belonging to the ‘silly ass’ school of … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Dorothy L. Sayers, England, London, Lord Peter Wimsey, Philo Vance, Radio, SS Van Dine, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 78 Comments

2014 Book to Movie Challenge – completed

Well, we all like a good sequel and when Katie over at her Doing Dewey blog asked me to co-host this challenge, I just couldn’t resist (hubris is a terrible thing)! I selected the Movie Auteur level (24 books to be reviewed and … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 87th Precinct, Agatha Christie, Audrey Erskine Lindop, Barry England, Bill Pronzini, Billy Wilder, Blake Edwards, Brian de Palma, Charles Williams, Charlotte Armstrong, Claude Chabrol, Columbo, Cornell Woolrich, Dashiell Hammett, David Callan, Desmond Cory, Ed McBain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Evelyn Anthony, Georges Simenon, Graham Greene, Isaac Asimov, James Hadley Chase, James M. Cain, James Mitchell, Maigret, Miss Marple, Nero Wolfe, Orson Welles, PD James, Perry Mason, Philip Marlowe, Philo Vance, Poirot, Raymond Chandler, Rex Stout, Robert Siodmak, Roy Baker, Shirley Jackson, Somerset Maugham, SS Van Dine, Stanley Ellin, The Thin Man, William Goldman | 16 Comments

2014 Vintage Mystery Challenges – completed

12 months and 72 book reviews later and the Vintage Mystery Challenge bingos, both Golden (pre-1960) and Silver (1960 to 1989) varieties, are complete! The indefatigable Bev of My Reader’s Block gives structure and meaning to the reading habits of us mystery … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Agatha Christie, Bill Pronzini, Carter Dickson, Charlotte Armstrong, Cornell Woolrich, Dashiell Hammett, David Callan, Dorothy Dunnett, Ed McBain, Edward D. Hoch, Erle Stanley Gardner, Evelyn Anthony, Georges Simenon, Gideon Fell, Gil Brewer, Gillian Freeman, Graham Greene, Harold Q. Masur, Helen Nielsen, James Hadley Chase, James M. Cain, James Mitchell, John Blackburn, John Dickson Carr, John Sladek, L. Ron Hubbard, Lange Lewis, Lawrence Sanders, Leslie Charteris, LP Davies, Maigret, Marcia Muller, Miss Marple, Nero Wolfe, Ngaio Marsh, Noir, Orson Welles, Parker, PD James, Perry Mason, Peter Corris, Philip Marlowe, Philo Vance, Poirot, Police procedural, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Rex Stout, Richard Stark, Robert B. Parker, Robert Bloch, Roderick Alleyn, Science Fiction, Shirley Jackson, Somerset Maugham, SS Van Dine, Stanley Ellin, Stark House Press, The Shadow, Thomas M. Disch, Walter B Gibson, William Goldman | 24 Comments

THE DRAGON MURDER CASE (1933) by SS Van Dine

A man dives into an open air swimming pool and vanishes, never to be seen alive again. When the pool is drained, the only clue to be found is what looks like the footprints of a dragon on the muddy sediment … … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, New York, Philo Vance, SS Van Dine, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 48 Comments

2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge – completed

The indefatigable and always welcoming Bev of My Reader’s Block regularly corrals us mystery buffs with her Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, which focuses on mystery fiction published pre-1960 to be eligible for inclusion. I’ve had a great time this year with … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Albert Campion, Boileau-Narcejac, Edgar Wallace, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, George Axelrod, Georges Simenon, James M. Cain, Maigret, Margaret Scherf, Margery Allingham, Michael Gilbert, Nero Wolfe, Philo Vance, Rex Stout, Richard Matheson, Sherwood King, SS Van Dine, Stanley Ellin, Wade Miller, Whit Masterson, World War II | 26 Comments

THE WINTER MURDER CASE (1939) by SS Van Dine

This was the snowy swan song for amateur sleuth Philo Vance. It is also, stylistically, Van Dine’s most atypical book, told in a brisk, direct and light manner almost completely free of those adornments (footnotes and expansive digressions etc.) that … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Philo Vance, SS Van Dine | 45 Comments

SS Van Dine – forgotten author

Does anyone read the rarefied intellectual puzzles investigated by Philo Vance anymore? I have been looking again at this series written and narrated by ‘SS Van Dine’ mainly with great pleasure (and will provide a couple of reviews here at Fedora very … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, SS Van Dine | 39 Comments

Top 101 Film & TV Mysteries

This is a minor milestones for Tipping My Fedora as the blog has now reached its 101st post. So, seeing as it is also my birthday today, what better way to celebrate than with a small indulgence in the company of … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Charlie Chan, Columbo, Dashiell Hammett, Dorothy L. Sayers, Film Noir, Giallo, Inspector Morse, Jonathan Latimer, London, Lord Peter Wimsey, Los Angeles, Nero Wolfe, New York, Oxford, Paris, Parker, Philip MacDonald, Philip Marlowe, Philo Vance, Raymond Chandler, Rex Stout, Richard Stark, Robert Culp, Ross Macdonald, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Scott Turow, Sherlock Holmes, SS Van Dine, The Thin Man, TV Cops, William Goldman | 31 Comments

THE BISHOP MURDER CASE (1928) by S.S. Van Dine

“Philo Vance / Needs a kick in the pance” – Ogden Nash It is only with hindsight that we can properly discern the ebb and flow of patterns in crime fiction and separate the true trend setters, those destined to … Continue reading

Posted in Dorothy L. Sayers, Ellery Queen, Five Star review, Lord Peter Wimsey, Philo Vance, Raymond Chandler, SS Van Dine, Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge 2011 | 14 Comments

Top 100 mystery books (almost)

The plan was to come up with a top 100 that I was prepared to stand by – but I wanted to re-read so many of the books that I might have included but now remembered too vaguely (such as Ngaio Marsh’s output or books like Tey’s hugely popular The Daughter of Time) that I thought I should publish only a partial list. Not to mention finding it a bit hard to just settle on one book by Georges Simenon given the enormity of his output – I have placed a list of 80+ titles on the site and am extremely open to suggestions …

So here are My (Nearly) Top 100 Mystery Books  Continue reading

Gallery | 2 Comments

O is for … THE ORIGIN OF EVIL (1951) by Ellery Queen

As the Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog reaches the letter O, my second nomination this week, also eligible under the guidelines of Bev’s 2011 Mystery Readers Challenge, is …

O is for … THE ORIGIN OF EVIL by Ellery Queen

This is the third and last of Ellery Queen’s ‘Hollywood’ novels and indeed the three have been published together as an omnibus, though this does tend to emphasise the massive change of style in the final volume.

Indeed, what we are offered here is a jaundiced view of Hollywood and of the great detective himself, who here acts without the help and support of his father in a story which is much more redolent of the post-war noir sensibility we would more normally associate with Woolrich or Chandler for instance. It is a rich and strange novel, one that while being unmistakably ‘Queenian’ shows authors Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee continuing to explore new formulas to try and incorporate increasingly complex themes within the mystery genre. Continue reading

Gallery | 21 Comments

9 of the Best by Ellery Queen

Why 9? Well, 40 seemed too many, 5 was too few while the number 9 features heavily in the last Queen novel which was always going to be the last of my list, so … QED (a latin maxim which in one of the stories is amusingly mis-translated as ‘Queens’s Experiments in Deduction’).

Along with John Dickson Carr, Queen was the great detective story writer of my youth – when I turned 13 I began devouring their stories, marvelling at the ingenuity as they caught me out time and again. I’ll get round to Carr soon, but then again such a good job has already been done over at the ‘In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel’ blog that it is going to take a lot more effort to come up with something new to say.

“Ellery Queen” was the pseudonym of the cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, who also used the name for the detective, who is himself an author of detective stories. This is typical of the convolutions within their stories, which initially offered a ‘Challenge to the Reader’, claiming that at a certain point all the clues existed to deduced (never ‘guess’) who the murderer was. Lee later was polite enough to admit that this was probably only true if the reader was a genius! Continue reading

Gallery | 44 Comments

The SS Van Dine Murder Case

This gallery contains 8 photos.

‘S.S. Van Dine’ was the pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright (1888-1939) who was regarded in the teens and twenties as the greatest American authority on Nietzsche (my copy of Beyond Good and Evil has an introduction by Wright, who is called therein “..one of the foremost students and interpreters of Nietzsche in America”). According the publicity of the time, he created his fictional sleuth Philo Vance following a long illness during which he had been banned from reading anything more stimulating than detective stories (!!). The character is similar to Dorothy L Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey, also being a rich aristocrat who likes to solve crimes and is prone to dropping quotes and citations as he goes. In the case of Wright the erudition was pretty impressive and usually linked to the cases fairly convincingly. Continue reading

Gallery | 8 Comments