The Scarab Murder Case

The Scarab Murder Case (1929) is a classic whodunit written by S. S. Van Dine. In this book, detective Philo Vance's murder investigation takes place in a private home that doubles as a museum of Egyptology, and the solution depends in part on Vance's extensive knowledge of Egyptian history and customs, which enable him to sort through suggestions of godly vengeance and reveal the misdirections perpetrated by the real murderer.

The Scarab Murder Case
First US edition
AuthorS. S. Van Dine
CountryUnited States
SeriesPhilo Vance
GenreMystery novels
PublisherErnest Benn (UK) & Scribner's (US)
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Preceded byThe Bishop Murder Case 
Followed byThe Kennel Murder Case 

Literary significance and criticism

Some reviewers "were disgusted by the author's bland insults to the reader's intelligence -- e.g., the heavy Egyptian statue in the gallery, upended on a piece of pencil and conveniently toppling on the designed victim. By that date they were fed up with the whole bag of tricks, which successive settings did not rejuvenate."[1]

Film adaptation

The Scarab Murder Case (1936) starred Wilfrid Hyde-White as Vance.


  1. Barzun, Jacques and Taylor, Wendell Hertig. A Catalogue of Crime. New York: Harper & Row. 1971, revised and enlarged edition 1989. ISBN 0-06-015796-8

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