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S.S. Van Dine - for further reading

lulu Willard Huntington Wright (a.k.a. S.S. Van Dine) was born in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1888. His parents - who operated hotels - moved to Los Angeles twelve years later. Van Dine attended college in California, and later studied art in Europe. He was a literary critic for the Los Angeles Times, served as editor of the Smart Set (1912 - 14), and was an art critic for the San Francisco Bulletin. Prior to 1923, he wrote nine books of art criticism, including Modern Painting (1915), The Creative Will (1916), and The Future of Painting (1923).

After suffering a breakdown, the now New York-based Van Dine was advised by his doctors to do no "serious" reading for two years. During that time, he read some two thousand detective stories and resolved that he could do better. Wright began writing detective fiction under the pseudonym S.S. Van Dine, modeling their erudite detective, Philo Vance, after himself. The best of these novels - hugely popular in their day - include The Benson Murder Case (1926), The Canary Murder Case (1927), and The Bishop Murder Case (1929). Each were made into films. Van Dine also worked in Hollywood, where he wrote a number of screenplays. He died in 1938.

This page presents links and a checklist of relevant books and articles on the life and work of S.S.Van Dine. The intent of this page is to place Van Dine's life and work in a larger context. Emphasis, however, is given to material which references the author's 1927 novel The Canary Murder Case, the basis for the 1929 film staring Louise Brooks.

S.S. VAN DINE: LINKS
--- there are a number of webpages which mention or discuss S.S. Van Dine; offered here are some of the more informative links

S.S. Van Dine
--- concise page devoted to the author, includes a portrait of the author by his brother, the painter Stanton MacDonald-Wright

S.S. Van Dine
--- summary of the author's work

S.S. van Dine: Der Mordfall Canary
--- German page on The Canary Murder Case

Old New York: 'Historical' Mystery Novels
--- extensive, opinionated page devoted to the author's novels

Twenty rules for writing detective stories
--- a set of rules by Van Dine

S.S. VAN DINE: A CHECKLIST OF RELEVANT BOOKS
--- books about Van Dine and The Canary Murder Case, a novel whose popularity led it to be published in translation in numerous countries around the world

Tuska, Jon. Philo Vance: The Life and Times of S. S. Van Dine. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1971.
-- short bio-critical study

canary murder case
Canary Murder Case
early paperback edition

Loughery, John. Alias S. S. Van Dine. New York: Knopf, 1992.
-- full length biography

Van Dine, S. S. The Canary Murder Case. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927.
-- first edition

Van Dine, S. S. The Canary Murder Case. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1929.
-- photoplay edition with four stills from the film

Van Dine, S. S. The Canary Murder Case. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1930.
-- edition published as part of the "Philo Vance Series" with frontis piece depicting Louise Brooks

Van Dine, S. S. The Canary Murder Case. Boston: Gregg Press, 1980.
-- edition published as part of a series edited by Otto Penzler; frontis piece depicts Louise Brooks

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