Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Canary Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #2)” as Want to Read:
The Canary Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Canary Murder Case (Philo Vance #2)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  18 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Canary Murder Case, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Canary Murder Case

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 328)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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

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 It's rife with outdated conventions, stereotypes and overwhelming classism as is to be expected from a book written in 1926, with long-winded non-expositions by a charmless Peter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

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:
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.
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 added it
Dec 18, 2014
Jenny is currently reading it
Dec 18, 2014
icaro added it
Dec 16, 2014
Rick added it
Dec 19, 2014
Thefuninfuneral marked it as to-read
Nov 26, 2014
Bianca Johnson
Bianca Johnson marked it as to-read
Nov 19, 2014
gm added it
Nov 18, 2014
Kajehas marked it as to-read
Nov 14, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Black Camel (Charlie Chan, #4)
  • The French Powder Mystery
  • The Saint and Mr. Teal (The Saint)
  • A Question of Proof (Nigel Strangeways, #1)
  • The Layton Court Mystery (A Roger Sheringham Case)
  • Smallbone Deceased (Inspector Hazelrigg, #4)
  • Maigret Goes to School
  • The Case of the Sulky Girl (Perry Mason, #2)
  • The Red Thumb Mark
  • Kuka murhasi rouva Skrofin?
  • Black Knight in Red Square (Porfiry Rostnikov, #2)
  • The Notting Hill Mystery
  • The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade
  • Payment Deferred
  • Love Lies Bleeding (Gervase Fen, #5)
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)

Share This Book