Wednesday 11 April 2012

S.S. Van Dine - The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1938)

"So you want to be a detective" he said cheerfully. "I think that's an excellent idea. And I'm going to give you all the help I can. We'll work together; you shall be my assistant, so to speak. But you must keep very busy at it. And you mustn't let anyone suspect that you're doing detective work--that's the first rule."

I love the Philo Vance mysteries. I love Gracie Allen. I love Philo and Gracie together. But I was greatly disappointed with The Gracie Allen Murder Case as the mystery, about the discovery of a body in a restaurant with criminal connections, was so thin and featureless that I kept waiting for something interesting to happen story-wise. One over-the-top chapter involving a gangster's metaphysical ramblings should appeal to Van Dine aficionados but this is easily the least of the Philo Vance titles that I've read (although I've yet to read The Winter Murder Case). Perhaps it worked better as a film.


  1. I think this was written as a screenplay first and then adapted as a novel. I could be wrong. (I often am.) Thought I read that somewhere in one of my many reference books. I've always wanted to see the movie. Isn't it about a murder in a perfume factory? Perfume features in it somehow. A paperback version was retitled SMELL OF MURDER.