The Kidnap Murder Case (A Philo Vance Detective Story)

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A member of the wealthy Kenting family is kidnapped, and Philo Vance’s suspicions lead him to the victim’s home, the “Purple House” on New York’s 86th Street. A mysterious ransom note and the family collection of gems both play a part in the plot, which ends with the murderer’s suicide with the connivance of Vance. “To be sure, the motive for the crime, or, I should say, crimes, was the sordid one of monetary gain … through Vance’s determination and fearlessness, through his keen insight into human nature and his amazing flair for the ramifications of human psychology, he was able to penetrate beyond the seemingly conclusive manifestations of the case.”

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This early work by S. S. Van Dine was originally published in 1936 and we are now republishing it with a brand new introduction. ‘The Kidnap Murder Case’ is one of Van Dine’s novels of crime and mystery. S. S. Van Dine was born Willard Huntington Wright in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1888. He attended St. Vincent College, Pomona College and Harvard University, but failed to graduate, leaving to cultivate contacts he had made in the literary world. At the age of twenty-one, Wright began his professional writing career as literary editor of the Los Angeles Times. In 1926, Wright published his first S. S. Van Dine novel, The Benson Murder Case. Wright went on to write eleven more mysteries. The first few books about his upper-class amateur sleuth, Philo Vance, were so popular that Wright became wealthy for the first time in his life. His later books declined in popularity as the reading public’s tastes in mystery fiction changed, but during the late twenties and early thirties his work was very successful.

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