|Title:||The Benson Murder Case (Philo Vance #1)|
|Author:||Wright, Willard Huntington Writing under the pseudonym: Van Dine, S. S.|
|Publisher:||Charles Scribner's Sons|
|Tags:||fiction, mystery, New York City, Philo Vance (Fictitious character)|
|Description:||This novel opens with the death of playboy stockbroker, Alvin Benson, who is found in his brownstone mansion with a bullet through his head. First on the scene is Philo Vance, amateur detective, who is at once intrigued by the absence of Alvin's toupee and his false teeth. These odd clues set him in pursuit of an elusive murderer. He confronts a host of suspects and uncovers a number of family skeletons in his quest for the truth. [Suggest a different description.]|
|Comments:||aka Van Dine, S. S.; Philo Vance story #1|
Author Bio for Wright, Willard Huntington
S. S. Van Dine is the pseudonym used by American art critic Willard Huntington Wright (October 15, 1888 – April 11, 1939) when he wrote detective novels. Wright was an important figure in avant-garde cultural circles in pre-WWI New York, and under the pseudonym (which he originally used to conceal his identity) he created the once immensely popular fictional detective Philo Vance, a sleuth and aesthete who first appeared in books in the 1920s, then in movies and on the radio.
Wright never wanted to publish under his own name. He took his pseudonym from the abbreviation of "steamship" and from Van Dine, which he claimed was an old family name. According to Loughery, however, "there are no Van Dines evident in the family tree". He went on to write twelve mysteries in total, though their author's identity was unmasked by 1928. The first few books about the distinctive Philo Vance (who shared with his creator a love of art and a disdain for the common touch) were so popular that Wright became wealthy for the first time in his life. His readership was diverse and worldwide. David Shavit's study of WWII POW reading habits revealed that Vance was one of the favorite detectives among officer POWs.
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