Read The Canary Murder Case by S.S. Van Dine Online


1927. Illustrated with scenes from the Paramount photoplay. Around 1925 Willard Huntington Wright, critic and writer, underwent a long illness. As part of his convalescence he wrote The Benson Murder Case, in which he created the character of Philo Vance, a master sleuth. So that the book would not be compared to his other works he adopted the pseudonym S.S. Van Dine. By t1927. Illustrated with scenes from the Paramount photoplay. Around 1925 Willard Huntington Wright, critic and writer, underwent a long illness. As part of his convalescence he wrote The Benson Murder Case, in which he created the character of Philo Vance, a master sleuth. So that the book would not be compared to his other works he adopted the pseudonym S.S. Van Dine. By the time The Canary Murder Case, the second in the series was published, Van Dine had become a best seller. He wrote a total of twelve Philo Vance novels. The book begins: In the offices of the Homicide Bureau of the Detective Division of the New York Police Department, on the third floor of the Police Headquarters building in Center Street, there is a large steel filing cabinet; and within it, among thousands of others of its kind, there reposes a small green index-card on which is typed: ODell, Margaret. 184 West 71st Street. Sept. 10. Murder: Strangled about 11 p.m. Apartment ransacked. Jewelry stolen. Body found by Amy Gibson, maid....

Title : The Canary Murder Case
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781417902309
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 360 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Canary Murder Case Reviews

  • Libros Prestados
    2019-02-27 13:48

    Segundo caso del detective Philo Vance y tan entretenida o más que la primera. De hecho, me ha gustado más que "El caso del asesinato de Benson", porque creo que los elementos están más equilibrados: Vance es menos enervantes y su amigo el fiscal es menos inútil. Además, se plantea un "misterio de habitación cerrada", que es un subgénero del "murder mistery" que exige un gran ingenio por parte del autor, porque todos sabemos que solo hay tres soluciones posibles y es tarea del escritor esconder lo más posible cuál de ellas es.Es una novela, por tanto, con mucho diálogo (muy ligero, con Vance dando muchos toques de humor, y a tiempos ingenioso), descripciones funcionales (e incluso algún que otro plano dibujado) que se centra mucho en el puzle. Todo lo demás es un poco superfluo. Sí, los sospechosos tienen suficiente entidad para diferenciarlos entre sí y que te quedes con ellos, pero lo cierto es que lo más interesante es averiguar quién fue y cómo lo hizo. Un "murder mistery" de lo más clásico, vamos.Perfecto para los amantes del género y aquellos que quieren una lectura ligera para pasar el rato.

  • Diane
    2019-02-27 08:48

    Philo Vance is a wealthy man-about-town who solves mysteries in his free time, which he has a lot of. In this case, it is the murder of the "Canary," Margaret Odell, a former Follies girl who was strangled in her apartment. Margaret was basically a courtesan, who had a series of well-paying lovers and at least one lover (Skeel) who was leeching off her. A number of men - former and current lovers - just happened to be in the area at the time. Even the male switchboard operator is a possible suspect. Philo Vance and his creator, S S Van Dine (Willard Huntington Wright) are both something of an acquired taste. Many people find the books to be dated and perhaps they are. Vance is very effete and prone to obscure literary quotes. He seems to regard the crime solving as a game. There are times when you would just love to shake him because he's being so annoying. However, Van Dine could craft fascinating, complicated mysteries. I have read three of his novels so far and never came close to figuring out who did it. To quote Julian Symons:"It should be said that the best of the Van Dine stories are models of construction. Utterly remote from real life, they remain fascinating by strict adherence to the rules of their own dotty logic, and through their creator's self-absorbed immersion in his own work."The story is pure puzzle with little to no emotional involvement and rather flat characters. I do not mean that as an insult. Sometimes it's nice to read a mystery story that's just mystery and not full of details regarding the detective's love life or drinking habits, recipes for chocolate cake, or cute cat stories (and I'm a cat lover!). A couple years ago, I read a collection of recent mystery short stories. The editor commented about the difference in mysteries today with vintage mysteries like "Canary". He said, "They don't write stories like that any more." No, unfortunately, they don't. A few notes about "Canary":1. It was made into a very early talkie (1929) with William Powell (as Philo Vance) and Louise Brooks (as the Canary). It was originally filmed as a silent movie. However, with the success of "The Jazz Singer," a decision was made to dub "Canary." There was one problem - Louise Brooks had fled to Germany to make movies and refused to return to the US to record her lines. This led to her famous banishment from Hollywood films. Another actress, Margaret Livingstone, recorded the lines instead. A second Vance movie was filmed in 1933 based on "The Kennel Murder Case" and also starred William Powell as Philo Vance. 2. The story is based on the real-life murder of Dot King (Anna Marie Hearn), also known as the "Broadway Butterfly." A 28-year-old "artist's model", Dot was really more of a courtesan or call girl. Like Margaret Odell, Dot had an older male "protector" and a boyfriend who took her money and abused her. She was found dead in her apartment in 1923. She had been chloroformed to death. The killer was never found. However, there is a theory that she was accidentally killed. Another woman in the same line of work died in a similar manner about the same time. It was believed that robbers were preying on "kept women." They would break into the women's apartments, chloroform them, and then steal what they could get away with. In two of the cases, they overdid the chloroform and the women died. However, this was never proven. 3. Philo Vance was the inspiration for Ellery Queen. You can see the resemblance in the early Queen novels.

  • Donna
    2019-03-22 09:55

    Philo Vance is a descendant of Lord Peter Wimsey (aristocratic sort who approaches crime detection as an amateur who thinks he can outsmart the police) and the progenitor of Ellery Queen (just compare the openings of the first books in each series). What I like about each of these other mystery series -- and what I dislike -- carry over to this series of which this is the second book.I like how the amateurs can see things the police can't. I like how they tend to be more open to the discovery process rather than latching on to a particular suspect (or piece of evidence) and not letting go. Like the Queens, I like New York City as a setting. But all three have their flaws. The aristocratic nature of all three tends to be a put down of the lowly copper on the beat. Each has their inside police connection whom they work with, but beyond that they brush off the rest of police work. Each takes their sophisticated education and ticks off others, even me, with their erudite pronouncement -- especially Vance who is constantly quoting little sayings in Latin, French, German, etc. And this trying to pretend to be normal by dropping their "g"s and using slang, doncha know -- ick.This was a pretty good puzzle -- a locked room mystery -- which played "mostly" fair with the clues. I enjoyed it and came close to figuring it out. I'll read more in this series.

  • Susan
    2019-03-21 11:07

    When the beautiful, hard-bitten singer Margaret Odell, known as the Canary, is found murdered in her apartment, it seems like the classic locked room mystery. The police, and district attorney Markham, think the death was incidental to a burglary; Philo Vance knows better.

  • Pietro De Palma
    2019-03-22 10:52

    One of the best locked rooms I had read ever.Ingenuity, creativity, learning, psychology in a novel that marked a new era. It can be said that the boom of the mystery novel of the thirties was the result of the success of this novel when it was published (in the late twenties, it pulverized sales data above).At the end of last April, I posted on my blog Mondadori an essay on this novel:

  • Kenchiin
    2019-02-28 06:55

    The pleasure of reading a well written mystery novel cannot be replaced by anything in the world.

  • Melissa Hedges- Rankin
    2019-03-19 06:49

    Another oldie found in our inherited library. Overall liked it. The first few chapters were especially intriguing, with a glimpse into that time period which urged me to read more. However, I felt the pacing in the second 2/3 fizzled out a bit. The ending had a unique twist as to how the murder was committed.

  • David Bueno
    2019-03-16 12:47

    Pura novela negra, en algún momento pomposa por lo “posh” del principal personaje pero de lectura amena y entretenida.

  • Raquel
    2019-02-24 14:11

    Não me prendeu tanto como o outro do mesmo autor, mas é entretenimento razoável.

  • Rick Meyer
    2019-03-20 08:09

    will not read one of these books as written by someone from another country

  • Francesco
    2019-03-02 08:16


  • Jenny
    2019-03-18 14:10

    It's a simple murder mystery, but the contemporary reviewers raved about it, so I feel okay giving it four stars. I really like Van Dine's writing style. He writes well and clearly. He wasn't writing just to make money, and in fact, I read that he was sick and started writing books to occupy his time while bedridden. So it was for his own entertainment, not just to become a popular author. Anyway, I also like the character of Vance. I know some people on here don't like him, and I get why: he's droll, seemingly stereotypical, and kind of a pompous jerk. But I find him to be layered and interesting because he only wants people to think he's the above, but he's really a deeper character and takes things more seriously than he gives off.The story itself was decent. I was intrigued by the mystery and wanted to keep reading. In fact, I read more than half the book today. I just wanted to know who killed "the Canary," and I've gotten yelled at by more than one person for looking ahead, so since I "couldn't" do that, I had to hurry up and finish the book. I was disappointed by the revelation of the murderer, which was sort of obvious, but it wasn't too bad. At least there were interesting explanations for the biggest puzzles of the novel. I like the way the pieces were revealed slowly, and the last page had a twist, so that was good.I would definitely recommend this book to mystery lovers. I own another Philo Vance book, and I'm looking forward to reading it. At least I know that I'll get a good story with an interesting amateur sleuth and a decent mystery to figure out. It reminds me of Bradley's Flavia de Luce series: you either love Flavia, or you hate her, but once you decide that you love her, you want to keep reading about her.

  • Crissy
    2019-03-01 07:14

    My Bluefire player came with a library of public domain mystery novels, and this was my first Philo Vance story by S.S. Van Dine. It's rife with outdated conventions, stereotypes and overwhelming classism as is to be expected from a book written in 1926, with long-winded non-expositions by a charmless Peter Wimsey. Worse, the murderer's identity was glaring in a Murder-She-Wrote fashion early in the investigation, and the reader's then doomed to plod through red herrings, multiple interviews of the same three "usual suspects," and philosophy-of-crime-solving disagreements between Vance and his college friend, the unimaginative New York district attorney, for another hundred pages or so.The class discrimination is the most annoying, not so much because it's offensive given the time period, but so prevalent as to be distracting to a 21st century reader. Burroughs (the author's actual surname) is apparently noted for his progressive, non-stereotypical treatment of Chinese characters in a later book, so I guess the non-Harvard educated, vulgarly dressed working class are the bottom of his food chain. I'll read at least a couple more to see if they're tolerable, if for no other reason than he was a literary and art critic who wrote some seminal analyses of detective fiction and popular genre novels that I'd like to read. He felt that he'd irrevocably damaged his credibility by writing popular fiction but given how many of these books he wrote, they must have paid much better.

  • Vizzena Peverell
    2019-02-27 07:08

    First of all I have to say I'm usually not a big fan of crime novels. However I kind of liked this book. After a few chapters I actually got intrigued. The best part of the book was Vance sarcasm and reasoning, even though he used way too many French (?) and Latin phrases that I didn't understand. But obviously, he is supposed to be highly intelligent which is why he has to speak in that manner, lol. I'm also pleased with the ending which is why I finally decided to rate it 3 stars, even though 99 % of the novel is just interrogations with suspects (but I guess that's normal for a golden age novel). What I found weird was that the narrator (Van) never really interfered or anything. He was just in the background, observing and occasionally shaking hands with people. You could compare Vance and Van with Sherlock and Watson. The big difference is of course that Watson usually plays a significant role in the stories, while Van just follows Vance around quietly. Another down-side was that no one seems to think highly of women. They're amazed at the fact that Miss La Fosse is actually pretty smart "for a woman". Also Markham claims that he can't comprehend how a guy like Spootswoode could be attracted by "the empty-headed butterfly type"...Um, excuse me, first of all Margaret Odell is a canary and not a butterfly, and second, just because she's a show girl doesn't mean she's empty-headed. There were also some things that were a bit far-fetched (no spoilers), but overall it was a pretty okay crime novel.

  • Maria Carmo
    2019-03-08 12:12

    Although I do not enjoy this Author as much as my dear Rex Stout or even Ellery Queen, I must say that this was an ingenious novel! I guessed the culprit at about two thirds of the book, but I had not guessed all the intricate details of the proof. As for the ending, it was to be expected when Vance incited Markham to allow the culprit some time... All in all, I enjoy these Philo Vance adventures, although he is a bit convinced intellectually... Maria Carmo,Lisbon 13 February 2017.

  • Alexandra Harmon
    2019-03-06 06:04

    If you have seen an episode of SVU, then this book will offer absolutely no surprises for you. I saw every major "twist" coming at least a chapter ahead of time. And this book was worse than a Scooby-Doo episode in repeatedly drawing attention to the actual culprit with many a throwaway, "Well, there is no way it could be that guy" and "I'm pretty sure we can rule him out."If you are a fan of the murder mystery genre -- of which I am decidedly one; Agatha Christie all day, every day -- you may enjoy seeing an early version of a familiar story. It's well-written and, though there are no real shockers, the puzzle of the crime scene offers enough intrigue to make it passably enjoyable.The atmospheric New-York-in-the-20's vibe is very fun and, obviously, feels much more authentic than similar modern stories written as historical fiction.Now that I think about it, my above comparison to Law & Order is very apt. This book is enjoyable, but forgettable, the literary equivalent of background noise while doing the dishes.A much wordier version of this review has been posted on my blog:

  • Elisa
    2019-02-25 09:47

    Open Road en Español me ha dado una copia electrónica de esta novela a través de Net Galley. Muchas gracias!Para alguien que se leyó todos los libros de Agatha Christie a los 12 años, me sorprende la cantidad de autores de "whodunits" que no conozco de nada. S.S. Van Dine es uno de los mejores. Situado en el Broadway de los 20, El Crimen de la Canario es entretenido, y sigue la línea clásica de los libros de crímenes. Narrada por "Van Dine" como personaje, similar al Watson de Holmes, cuenta cómo Philo Vance resuelve un crimen imposible dentro de un apartamento cerrado (como El Misterio del Cuarto Amarillo de Gaston Leroux, por ejemplo). Esta traducción al castellano es divertida y amena. El culpable se ve venir, pero no por eso la manera de atraparlo es menos emocionante. La verdad es que me ha gustado más que cualquier libro de otros autores más conocidos, como Dorothy L. Sayers y Georgette Heyer.

  • Bryan Hall
    2019-02-27 05:51

    It's no Hammett or Chandler, but Philo Vance is a fun little detective to follow around. He has a penchant for bons mots in a number of languages, and references to any number of literary sources, such that an annotated version might be worth reading. I was proud of myself for solving at least one of the clues early on, then fell into my usual wondering of whether a mystery writer should leave enough clues that the reader has a chance of solving the case, or to conceal the solution with unguessable twists. I still haven't answered that for myself, but I suppose it's at least safer that way. Although one key fact hinges on a device Van Dine reuses in at least one other story [or at least the movie version of it], and I was awfully surprised to see it again.[Wavered between 3 and 4 stars, but there was really nothing negative to drop it down, so there you are. ]

  • Brad McKenna
    2019-03-07 10:15

    Unlike the first book, this murder mystery has The Great Philo Vance stymied. The murdered lass is a star of the stage and wildly popular to her adoring fans, but to the guys she leads on and blackmails? Not so much. With each of the suspects having an airtight alibi (don't they always) the culprit remains a mystery (obviously). Then there's the fact that Vance posits there being two men in the room, when even one was thought to be unlikely is a great twist. Almost as good as where the gal's voice came from on that fateful night at that fateful time. I really can't go much more into things without giving too much away. But suffice it to say, Vance is fast joining the likes of Poirot, Marlowe, de Luce, and Holmes as my favorite sleuths.

  • Pietro De Palma
    2019-03-23 10:14

    Genialità, estro, erudizione, psicologia in un romanzo che fece epoca. Si può dire che il boom del romanzo mystery degli anni trenta fu la conseguenza del successo di questo romanzo che quando fu pubblicato (fine anni venti), polverizzò i dati di vendita precedenti.Alla fine dello scorso aprile, ho pubblicato on Blog Mondadori un mio saggio su questo romanzo:

  • Mmyoung
    2019-03-19 08:00

    Although Philo Vance was, it seems, a major inspiration for Ellery Queen and other detectives he fails for me to live up to his reputation upon rereading. When I first read the books I was amused and distracted by the picture of times gone by and behaviours no longer seen. Rereading the books years later I notice how gossamer thin is the mystery at the heart of this book. Had the police been even minimally competent the murderer would have been discovered before Vance had time to show off his special skills.

  • Ronald Wilcox
    2019-03-23 05:54

    Second in the Philo Vance series of mysteries. Very similar to Ellery Queen. Actress, the "Canary," is murdered in locked room and there is no way anyone could have done it because of the person who sits in the lobby of her apartment complex. There are four men who had the motive but none seemed to have had the means. Vance, utilizing luck and music and deduction, proves how and who did the murder. Would have been a five star but the main two characters talk in such a ridiculous manner at times - will need to go back and look up dozens of words they used.

  • Denise Eggleston
    2019-03-24 10:52

    "The Canary Murder Case" takes you to an earlier time, when men dressed in elegant suits for dinner and everyone smoked with no fear. Philo Vance, though the main character, is not a detective. Instead he is a rich, bored dilettante who is a friend of the District Attorney. The DA takes his friend to the scene of the murder of a stage star, the Canary. Vance solves it using "psychological deduction." It is a locked room mystery.The book is fun to read even set as it is in the early 1920s..

  • John
    2019-03-04 11:11

    I found the story interesting, overall, but the regular-police-are-so-bumbling bit was overdone and I couldn't stand the main character, Philo Vance. He is very condescending and I think it more likely that his fellow characters would give him a punch on the nose before including them in their investigation. Some have compared Vance to Sayer's Peter Wimsey character, which I disagree with: Wimsey is interested in his fellow human beings whereas Vance is bored by them.

  • George
    2019-03-14 07:02

    2nd in the Philo Vance mystery series set in September, 1927. Vance, an independently wealthy college educated, amateur detective, uses his deductive skills and psychological knowledge to help his New York City District Attorney friend to unravel the murder of a well know New York City actress known as the "Canary" who was found strangled in her apartment. His methods are unconventional and go against the more rigid police investigative methods and lawyer legal requirements.

  • Cindy
    2019-03-12 09:47

    Not as crazy about this one as I was about the first one. Philo Vance and his "I'm so much cleverer than everyone else and let me demonstrate by using foreign words you can't understand" attitude is not as appealing the second time around. The story was perhaps a little stronger than in the first one, but the main character just got on my nerves. I will probably read the next one in this series, but I'm not sure how many more I will bother with.

  • Mary
    2019-02-25 10:59

    The second book in the series of Philo Vance murder mysteries. Philo Vance is a wealthy aristocrat who assists District Attorney Markham with solving murders. Set in 1927 New York, a nightclub singer known as 'the Canary' is found murdered in her apartment. As they investigate they find that she has a number of men in her life and more than one man visited her apartment on the night she was murdered. Interesting whodunnit which I really enjoyed.

  • Kenneth
    2019-03-14 10:08

    A New York Broadway star, known as the "Canary", is found strangled in her locked apartment. There are several possible suspects, so whodunit? And how? They all have seemingly airtight alibis. A quite intriguing mystery and Philo Vance is on the case with his friend, New York County District Attorney John F.-X. Markham and Sergeant Ernest Heath of the Homicide Bureau.

  • Leslie
    2019-03-20 08:47

    Entertaining although a bit dated classic mystery. Philo Vance as a detective resembles the Lord Peter Wimsey of Dorothy Sayers and the Albert Campion of Margary Allingham but lacks their charm and this particular mystery the depth and complexity of the other writers. Still not. a bad read with some interesting period details.

  • E
    2019-02-24 08:52

    Classic 'locked-room' murder--how did he get in or out? This is often considered the best of the dozen Philo Vance novels that Van Dine wrote. A bit more of a classic detective novel than the first (which overemphasized the "psychology" of figuring out who the perp was, versus detection work). I have no plans to read this entire series, but this one has encouraged me to read at least one more.