Make your own free website on Tripod.com

THE OLD MOVIE MAVEN . . . The Website

philovancecollection.jpg

Home
CONTACT US
A TRIBUTE TO OUR MILITARY
A CAST OF CHARACTERS
A CALENDER OF MOVIES: What to Watch When
A CALENDAR OF MOVIES: Christmas - "The King of Kings" (1927)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
ABBOTT & COSTELLO
AMERICAN CLASSIC MOVIES INTRODUCTIONS
ANIMALS AND THE MOVIES
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Sets
ARCITECTURE: Ancient Egypt
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Bernheimer Residence
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: The Ennis-Brown House
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Evan Thompson's Bottle House
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Greystone Manor
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: The Hearst Castle
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: The Hollywood Sign
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Homes of the Stars
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Jean Harlow
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Maps and Floor Plans
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Pickfair
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: The Rispin Mansion
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Royal Hawaiian Hotel
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Scotty's Castle
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Shelby House
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: West Hollywood Historical Association
ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Whimsy
ARCHIVES: VOLUME 1
ARCHIVES: VOLUME 2
ARCHIVES: VOLUME 3
ASSORTED SHORT CLIPS
"B" MOVIES
B - MOVIES: Serials
B - MOVIES: Series
B - MOVIES: Television Series
THE BARRYMORE FAMILY
BIOGRAPHIES
BLOOPERS
BOBBY "BORIS" PICKETT
BUSTER KEATON
CARLA LAEMMLE
CARTOONS
CHARLIE CHAN ANNEX
CHARLIE CHAN: Asian Actors in Hollywood
CHARLIE CHAN: Bloopers & Bonus Questions
CHARLIE CHAN: The Books and Their Movies!
CHARLIE CHAN: Chang Apana
CHARLIE CHAN: Charlie's Sons
CHARLIE CHAN: Chemicals
CHARLIE CHAN: Chronology
CHARLIE CHAN: Criminal?!?!*
CHARLIE CHAN: Extras
CHARLIE CHAN: Gilbert Martines and Chang Apana
CHARLIE CHAN: Hawaii Steve
CHARLIE CHAN: Maps
CHARLIE CHAN: Maven and Rush Glick's Interview in . . . "Monster Bash"!
CHARLIE CHAN: Movie Eras
CHARLIE CHAN: Movie Notes
CHARLIE CHAN: Murder Rate
CHARLIE CHAN: On The Town
CHARLIE CHAN: Puzzles and Quizzes
CHARLIE CHAN: Quiz and Puzzle Answers
CHARLIE CHAN: Radio Shows
CHARLIE CHAN: Spookies
CHARLIE CHAN: Transportation
CHARLIE CHAN: Weather
CHILDREN'S CORNER
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Holiday Crafts
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Boats and Planes and More
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Paper Dolls
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Fun Stuff to Read
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Boys' Town
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Colleen Moore's Castle
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Judy Bolton
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Nancy Drew
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Nancy Drew (For Older Fans!)
CHILDREN'S CORNER: Shirley Temple
COMEDIANS
COPPER CAPERS: FBI's and CIA's!
COSTUME DESIGNERS
DASHIELL HAMMETT
ETTA KIT
FASHIONS IN FILM
FILM NOIR
FOOD CENTRAL
FOREIGN FILMS
GENRES
GINGER ROGERS
HALLOWEEN FUN!
HALLOWEEN 2011: Movies to Watch
HALLOWEEN RECIPES
HAROLD LLOYD
HAUNTS: Hollywood and Elsewhere
HAUNTS: Winchester House
HISTORY: Hollywood and Elsewhere
HOLLYWOOD'S SCANDALS AND CRIMES
HOLLYWOOD'S . . . CRIME: Greystone Mansion Murder
HOLLYWOOD'S . . . Crime: Jean Harlow and Paul Bern's Muder?
HOLLYWOOD'S . . . CRIME: Tate/LaBianca Murders
HOLLYWOOD'S . . .CRIME: William Desmond Taylor Murder
HOLLYWOOD'S MARRY-GO-ROUNDS
HORROR - SCIENCE FICTION
HORROR - SCI FI: Annex
HORROR - SCI FI: The Atomic Submarine (1959)
HORROR - SCI FI: Bela Lugosi
HORROR - SCI FI: Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi
HORROR - SCI FI: Boris Karloff
HORROR - SCI FI: Dracula (1931)
HORROR - SCI FI: Frankenstein (1931)
HORROR - SCI FI: Gojira (1954) & Godzilla (1957)
HORROR - SCI FI: Invaders from Mars (1954)
HORROR - SCI FI: King Kong
HORROR - SCI FI: Lon Chaney
HORROR - SCI FI: Nifty Fifty's Creature Features
HORROR - SCI FI: Nightmare Theatre with Gorgon
HORROR - SCI FI: Ray Harryhausen
HORROR - SCI FI: Stephen King
HORROR - SCI FI: Universal Studios
HORROR - SCI FI: Universal Monster Genealogy
HORROR - SCI FI: Wes Davis
HORROR - SCI FI: The Witch's Dungeon
HOLLYWOOD SQUARES
HUSTON FAMILY
I LOVE LUCY
INTERVIEWS
JOHN WAYNE
JONATHAN GEFFNER
JOSEPHINE BAKER
KAY LINAKER
LEI MAKING
LOCATIONS
MDs - RNs - RNBs - OH MY!
M.D.S . . . - The Crime Doctor Series
MAGIC IN MOVIES
MAKEUP ARTISTS
MAKEUP ARTISTS: The Westmore Family
MARX BROTHERS
MARY ASTOR
MARY PICKFORD AND DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS
MAVEN'S LIBRARY
MAVEN'S WEBSITES TO CHECK OUT
MUSIC
MUSIC: Dancers
MUSIC: The Lyrics
MYSTERIES
MYSTERIES: A Warning For Those Who Give Away The Endings!
MYSTERIES: Alfred Hitchcock
MYSTERIES: The Bat
MYSTERIES: D. W. Griffith vs. Mary Roberts Rinehart
MYSTERIES: Gum Shoes
MYSTERIES: Old Dark Houses
MYSTERIES: S.S. Van Dine
MYSTERIES: S.S. Van Dine - The Kidnap Murder Case
ORSON WELLES
PERRY MASON
QUIZZES AND PUZZLES
QUIZ ANSWERS
QUOTES From Hollywood
QUOTES From Hollywood Movies
QUOTES From Dorothy Parker
QUOTES Dorothy Parkers' "The Waltz"
RADIO SHOWS: Vintage Series
RECIPES OF THE WEEK
RECIPES OF THE WEEK: More about the Recipes
RECIPES OF THE WEEK: A Rejuvenating Diet
REVIEWS
REVIEWS - Mini Mavens
RONALD REAGAN
RUDOLPH VALENTINO
SEX IN THE CINEMA
SHIRLEY TEMPLE
SILENT MOVIES
TAYLOR SCHULTZ: Hollywood Sculptor
TRANSPORTATION IN THE MOVIES: Aviation
VINCENT PRICE
VINCENT PRICE: Connoisseur
WHAT'S MY LINE?
THE WHISTLER
THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)

This page is dedicated to Philo Vance fans everywhere! 
And there's something for everyone . . .
For Charlie Chan fans, there is The Scarab Murder Case.
For lovers of classic comedy in radios, movies and television, there is The Gracie Allen Murder Case.
And for those who love foul weather
as well as foul play there are
The Benson Murder Case
The Greene Murder Case
The Winter Murder Case.
And those are just some of the ones that Maven has read!

Philo Vance Collection
philovancecollection.jpg
By S.S. Van Dine

S.S. VAN DINE (Willard Huntington Wright) (1887-1939)

The Philo Vance Mysteries (Complete):
 
The Benson Murder Case (1926)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The "Canary" Murder Case (1927)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Greene Murder Case (1928)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Bishop Murder Case (1928)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Scarab Murder Case (1930)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Kennel Murder Case (1933)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Dragon Murder Case (1933)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Casino Murder Case (1934)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Garden Murder Case (1935)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Kidnap Murder Case (1936)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1938)--Text--ZIP--HTML

The Winter Murder Case (1939)--Text--ZIP--HTML

     Maven is fortunately able to pull up The Kidnap Murder Case's chapter titles for ease of reading each one as well as the cast of characters at MYSTERIES: S.S. Van Dine - The Kidnap Murder Case.
     All of the Philo Vance cases can be enjoyed at http://gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty-n-z.html#letterV along with works by Jules Verne and Edgar Wallace, among others.

Twenty rules for writing detective stories

 

by S.S. Van Dine
(pseud. for Willard Huntington Wright)

 

THE DETECTIVE story is a kind of intellectual game. It is more — it is a sporting event. And for the writing of detective stories there are very definite laws — unwritten, perhaps, but none the less binding; and every respectable and self-respecting concocter of literary mysteries lives up to them. Herewith, then, is a sort Credo, based partly on the practice of all the great writers of detective stories, and partly on the promptings of the honest author's inner conscience. To wit:

 

   1. The reader must have equal opportunity with the detective for solving the mystery. All clues must be plainly stated and described.

   2. No willful tricks or deceptions may be placed on the reader other than those played legitimately by the criminal on the detective himself.

   3. There must be no love interest. The business in hand is to bring a criminal to the bar of justice, not to bring a lovelorn couple to the hymeneal altar.

   4. The detective himself, or one of the official investigators, should never turn out to be the culprit. This is bald trickery, on a par with offering some one a bright penny for a five-dollar gold piece. It's false pretenses.

   5. The culprit must be determined by logical deductions — not by accident or coincidence or unmotivated confession. To solve a criminal problem in this latter fashion is like sending the reader on a deliberate wild-goose chase, and then telling him, after he has failed, that you had the object of his search up your sleeve all the time. Such an author is no better than a practical joker.

   6. The detective novel must have a detective in it; and a detective is not a detective unless he detects. His function is to gather clues that will eventually lead to the person who did the dirty work in the first chapter; and if the detective does not reach his conclusions through an analysis of those clues, he has no more solved his problem than the schoolboy who gets his answer out of the back of the arithmetic.

   7. There simply must be a corpse in a detective novel, and the deader the corpse the better. No lesser crime than murder will suffice. Three hundred pages is far too much pother for a crime other than murder. After all, the reader's trouble and expenditure of energy must be rewarded.

   8. The problem of the crime must he solved by strictly naturalistic means. Such methods for learning the truth as slate-writing, ouija-boards, mind-reading, spiritualistic se'ances, crystal-gazing, and the like, are taboo. A reader has a chance when matching his wits with a rationalistic detective, but if he must compete with the world of spirits and go chasing about the fourth dimension of metaphysics, he is defeated ab initio.

   9. There must be but one detective — that is, but one protagonist of deduction — one deus ex machina. To bring the minds of three or four, or sometimes a gang of detectives to bear on a problem, is not only to disperse the interest and break the direct thread of logic, but to take an unfair advantage of the reader. If there is more than one detective the reader doesn't know who his codeductor is. It's like making the reader run a race with a relay team.

   10. The culprit must turn out to be a person who has played a more or less prominent part in the story — that is, a person with whom the reader is familiar and in whom he takes an interest.

   11. A servant must not be chosen by the author as the culprit. This is begging a noble question. It is a too easy solution. The culprit must be a decidedly worth-while person — one that wouldn't ordinarily come under suspicion.

   12. There must be but one culprit, no matter how many murders are committed. The culprit may, of course, have a minor helper or co-plotter; but the entire onus must rest on one pair of shoulders: the entire indignation of the reader must be permitted to concentrate on a single black nature.

   13. Secret societies, camorras, mafias, et al., have no place in a detective story. A fascinating and truly beautiful murder is irremediably spoiled by any such wholesale culpability. To be sure, the murderer in a detective novel should be given a sporting chance; but it is going too far to grant him a secret society to fall back on. No high-class, self-respecting murderer would want such odds.

   14. The method of murder, and the means of detecting it, must be rational and scientific. That is to say, pseudo-science and purely imaginative and speculative devices are not to be tolerated in the roman policier. Once an author soars into the realm of fantasy, in the Jules Verne manner, he is outside the bounds of detective fiction, cavorting in the uncharted reaches of adventure.

   15. The truth of the problem must at all times be apparent — provided the reader is shrewd enough to see it. By this I mean that if the reader, after learning the explanation for the crime, should reread the book, he would see that the solution had, in a sense, been staring him in the face-that all the clues really pointed to the culprit — and that, if he had been as clever as the detective, he could have solved the mystery himself without going on to the final chapter. That the clever reader does often thus solve the problem goes without saying.

   16. A detective novel should contain no long descriptive passages, no literary dallying with side-issues, no subtly worked-out character analyses, no "atmospheric" preoccupations. Such matters have no vital place in a record of crime and deduction. They hold up the action and introduce issues irrelevant to the main purpose, which is to state a problem, analyze it, and bring it to a successful conclusion. To be sure, there must be a sufficient descriptiveness and character delineation to give the novel verisimilitude.

   17. A professional criminal must never be shouldered with the guilt of a crime in a detective story. Crimes by housebreakers and bandits are the province of the police departments — not of authors and brilliant amateur detectives. A really fascinating crime is one committed by a pillar of a church, or a spinster noted for her charities.

   18. A crime in a detective story must never turn out to be an accident or a suicide. To end an odyssey of sleuthing with such an anti-climax is to hoodwink the trusting and kind-hearted reader.

   19. The motives for all crimes in detective stories should be personal. International plottings and war politics belong in a different category of fiction — in secret-service tales, for instance. But a murder story must be kept gemütlich, so to speak. It must reflect the reader's everyday experiences, and give him a certain outlet for his own repressed desires and emotions.

   20. And (to give my Credo an even score of items) I herewith list a few of the devices which no self-respecting detective story writer will now avail himself of. They have been employed too often, and are familiar to all true lovers of literary crime. To use them is a confession of the author's ineptitude and lack of originality.

(a) Determining the identity of the culprit by comparing the butt of a cigarette left at the scene of the crime with the brand smoked by a suspect.

(b) The bogus spiritualistic séance to frighten the culprit into giving himself away.

(c) Forged fingerprints.

(d) The dummy-figure alibi.

(e) The dog that does not bark and thereby reveals the fact that the intruder is familiar.

(f)The final pinning of the crime on a twin, or a relative who looks exactly like the suspected, but innocent, person.

(g) The hypodermic syringe and the knockout drops.

(h) The commission of the murder in a locked room after the police have actually broken in.

(i) The word association test for guilt.

(j) The cipher, or code letter, which is eventually unraveled by the sleuth.