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The Scarab Murder Case

(Philo Vance #5)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Philo Vance was drawn into the Scarab murder case by sheer coincidence, although there is little doubt that John F.-X. Markham—New York's District Attorney—would sooner or later have enlisted his services. But it is problematic if even Vance, with his fine analytic mind and his remarkable flair for the subtleties of human psychology, could have solved that bizarre and ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published 1980 by Gregg Press (first published 1929)
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Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philo Vance, the sometimes arrogant, sometimes dilettante, Regie-smoking, g-droppin' (see what I mean!) amateur sleuth, gets involved in the death of a famous Egyptologist patron Benjamin H Kyle.

All the action takes place in the space of 36 hours and in that time Van Dine packs in plenty of action, red herrings, suspects, humour and lessons in Egyptian history (even correcting Rider Haggard about a character in one of his novels). He is joined by his friend John F-X Markham the New York County
Jun 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic-mystery
It isn't bad, but I prefer the other stories he wrote before this.
There are enough clues to notice the "plot twist", so I am happy with that.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
An Egyptologist lies murdered. He lies embracing the feet of Anubis, the god of the underworld. The murder weapon is Sakhamet the goddess of vengeance. Is the killer a vengeful goddess, a jealous husband, a dedicated servant, a greedy relative, a dissatisfied wife, an opportunistic intruder, or the ‘English gentleman”? Obviously, only the incomparable Philo Vance can sort out this Gordian knot. Well, who else could have read the incriminating letter written in Egyptian hieroglyphics?
Maria Carmo
I really enjoyed this new crime story by SS Van Dine. It is true that Philo Vance strikes one as a bit arrogant, but it cannot be denied that the whole complexity of the plot, the exotic flavor granted by all the Latin and Egyptian phases and the personality of Heni, give this book a special atmosphere full of mystery. At the very end, there is a certain "amorality" which I am not sure would be right, if it were a REAL case... But I do not want to give out any "spoilers"! All in all, I really ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Scarab Murder Case
5th in the Philo Vance mystery series set during July 13-14, 1930. 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 the financial backer of an Egyptologist and his work in Egypt. As usual, the action is set in New York City. His methods are unconventional and go against the more rigid police investigative methods and lawyer
Rick Mills
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: s-s-van-dine
This is a tight mystery, with the action confined to just these few characters. It is enjoyable as suspicion passes around from one to another. There are several instances of things-not-as-they appear which are all clearly explained at the end. A lot of Egypt-ese, but that does not detract from it. As Philo Vance novels go, he sticks to relevant investigation and does not wander off for pages at a time displaying his erudite knowledge.
Annabel Frazer
Required a lot of concentration on the timings of people's movements and the exact layout of rooms, something I struggle with! I felt the characters could have been better developed instead. I don't know if this is typical of this series, but I was only moderately impressed. I liked the Egyptian angle though.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Não foi o melhor deste meu preferido, e achei que tinha potencialidade por a temática ser egípcia.
Os pontos que perde pelo desenvolvimento do enredo, recupera com o final inesperado.
Tre*** e mezzo
Juan Carlos
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Típica novela de S.S. Van Dine. Interesante, bien desarrollada y con final previsible. Un buen misterio para pasar el rato
Jul 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It is interesting for me to return to Philo Vance after reading several of the early Ellery Queen novels. Even if we did not have the evidence of the Queen writers own statements it is textually clear that the early characterization of Ellery Queen was influenced by that of Philo Vance. Indeed it seems at times that characters within the Queen universe are indirectly responding to characters and situations in the Vance universe. Given that both seem to be functioning in New York City at roughly ...more
Beaux Cooper
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
S. S. Van Dine is at it again with a plot filled with more twists than a back country road.

Taking place in a brownstone mansion equipped with its very own Egyptian museum, The Scarab Murder Case involves murder, love, jealousy, and corruption. All important ingredients to a truly excellent murder mystery.

When an Egyptologist's patron is found murdered at the feet of Anubis inside his personal museum hobby detective Philo Vance is forced to play a deadly game of real life chess with the murderer.
Larry Cunningham
This was my first Philo Vance mystery, and I enjoyed it. I found an early (1930) edition in a used bookstore, and just handling the book seemed to send me back to the time it was written. It must have been quite a sensation when first published, given all the hoopla over the recent archaeological excavations in Egypt. The plot was amusingly intricate, and the erudite discussions about everything from archaeology to jurisprudence just added to the fun. I'm not sure I would have liked the Philo ...more
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This series is evolving. Philo Vance, the main "detective," is taking over from the other characters. This book covered less than 48 hours. The solution seemed relatively obvious. The end-game was less than satisfactory. The protagonists still seem unashamed by their willingness to keep people in harm's way just in an attempt to deduce the culprit via unconventional methods. I will probably not continue with this series. If I attempt, please stop me!
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
An excellent crime. In Van Dine's stories everything is perfectly calculated and logical, and in this one the murderer's plan is really diabolical (and maybe too much complicated). The Egyptian and archaeological parts are very interesting. I just think that the crime would have been a bit more intriguing with more characters in it: there are very few possible suspects (that is in Van Dine's style, indeed).
When a wealthy philanthropist is killed in a small, private Egyptology museum, the clues point to Dr. Bliss, the director of the museum, the beneficiary of the philanthropist's largesse, and the man who lives in an adjoining house. But Vance will not let the police arrest Bliss, for fear of a miscarriage of justice. This is really heavy on Vance's Egyptological lore, including his ability to read hieroglyphics.
I'm not that into Egyptology, so the background surrounding the clues to this case wasn't of great interest to me. The plot itself is well executed with the perp and the detective both adding red herrings. Who would have thought there was enough space in a NYC home to house a museum of treasurers from the pyramids?
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This actually IS your grandmother's mystery novel, published in 1929, only seven years after Tut's tomb was discovered. Philo Vance is a bit like Lord Peter Wimsey, feigning effete ennui, but intense and sharp underneath. Great fun, and a blast from the past.
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love old books, the kind you have to turn the pages with care and the paper even smells old. My copy dates back to 1928. Philo Vance was the precursor of so many later detectives. Suave, brilliant, off the cuff, good looking, he worked to solve the odd cases. Lovely
Lisa Kucharski
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not as entertaining or difficult to figure out as other Philo Vance stories. Would say I enjoy the characters as usual. I find it interesting that the book is told by someone tagging along with Philo but that person rarely says anything, an odd choice.

Michele bookloverforever
dated but interesting.
Il mio primo libro di questo autore. Sono abituato a Sherlock Holmes e Vance ha delle interessanti somiglianze ma mantiene una sua identità forte e peculiare. Ne leggerò sicuramente altri :)
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
read between summer 1970 & summer 1974
Laura Rye
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
wonderful old detective novel...will definitely read more of the series and watch the movies
rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2012
Ramona Honan
rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2011
rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2018
Les Wilson
rated it really liked it
Jul 06, 2014
rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2015
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