The Dragon Murder Case
No question, The Dragon Murder Case showcases Our Philo at his most supremely irritating. The book is set at a mansion in the northern reaches of Manhattan, complete with picturesque pool. Into that pool dives Sanford Montague, never to be seen again. Fools (and as usual, they’re thick on the ground) rush to blame the supernatural: They note that the pool is known as “The Dragon Pool,” home to a monster known to the Lenape Indians. Philo’s not so sure: He is (of course) an expert on both dragons and the Lenape Indians, with a sort of sideline expertise in pools and fish.
It would be tempting to sympathize with Ogden Nash’s claim that “Philo Vance needs a kick in the pance.” But, as the New York Times noted, “[T]he piscatorial side of this book, at least, is authentic. The author is on the Board of Governors of the Aquarium Society of New York, and has won many prizes with his fish.” Philo may be a know-it-all, but apparently he comes by it honestly. By the time you reach the end of Dragon, you will almost certainly want to aim your boot at Vance’s posterior, but you will have had a swell time getting there.
“Philo Vance is still an objectionable character. He continues to flaunt his Oxford accent, to lift his eyebrows whimsically, and to speak disagreeably when he tries to be humorous. Yet as always the book presents a good puzzle, and that, according to Mr. Vance and his tens of thousands of readers, is what murder mystery books are for.” —New York Times
Who's likely to like this: Fans of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction
2020 • Fiction/Mystery • 264 pages • ISBN: 9781631942037