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The Canary Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #2)
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The Canary Murder Case (Philo Vance #2)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  223 ratings  ·  26 reviews
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 t ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 28th 1979 by Scribner Book Company (first published 1927)
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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 pr
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
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:
Alexandra Harmon
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 e
Vizzena Peverell
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 ...more
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 ...more
Bryan Hall
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 unguessa ...more
The pleasure of reading a well written mystery novel cannot be replaced by anything in the world.

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

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.
A slight improvement over the first one.
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 sp ...more
Pietro De Palma
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:
Denise Eggleston
"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..
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.
Nev Thomas
Ingenious murder mystery.Vey good.
Sep 22, 2007 Cindy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery fans who like Peter Wimsey
Shelves: mysteries
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.
Wendy Marech
Oh you lovely old-fashioned mysteries. How I love you.
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.
The story was engaging and deftly done if perhaps overwritten to a degree common to early 20th century authors. There were moments where I confused Philo Vance with Lord Peter Wimsey, to the detriment of neither. While definitely a period piece, it did not seem so dated as to detract from the reader's enjoyment.
Oh dear, I'm afraid I'm becoming hooked on the Van Dine murder mysteries. This one was rather good, the dialog was spot on and the murder was a puzzler. The New York in these books is urbane and a bit wicked. Everyone is moneyed, or pretending to be. I enjoyed this one.
A classic locked room mystery.

I find Philo Vance bugs me much less than Poirot, but the police are not shown as competent at sll.

Still it is escape fiction in my favorite genre.
Michele bookloverforever
if you can get past the affectations of the main character and the parlance of the timme period...not bad.
Sonia Argiolas
Urlo al miracolo: Philo Vance è più antipatico di me.
Quindi, è entrato nelle mie grazie.
Shelli King
I'm really enjoying this series.
A good old time classic whodunnit
Steve Pu
Steve Pu marked it as to-read
Aug 15, 2015
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Other Books in the Series

Philo Vance (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Benson Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #1)
  • The Greene Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #3)
  • The Bishop Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #4)
  • The Scarab Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #5)
  • The Kennel Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #6)
  • The Dragon Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #7)
  • The Casino Murder Case (Philo Vance Mystery #8)
  • The Garden Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #9)
  • The Kidnap Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #10)
  • The Gracie Allen Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #11)
The Benson Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #1) The Bishop Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #4) The Greene Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #3) The Kennel Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #6) The Dragon Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #7)

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