Philo Vance is the result of creative thinking of S. S. Van Dine, the pen name of Willard Huntington Wright. He is a New York based fictional detective who played the role of protagonist in as many as 12 crime novels, published between 1920s and 1930s. It was during this period that Philo was at the acme of his career, and was popularized all through books, movies, and on the radio.
Philo Vance had an amazing physical disposition. He was stylish and dandy who loved wearing attractive clothes. He did not look like an investigator, but gave the viewer the impression that he had no brains and was naturally a rude guy roaming the streets of New York City.
But on the contrary, he had the intellect that could easily fish the details from even the most hard core criminal. He could make a treason roll out all the clandestine secrets, make the murderer commit the reasons and circumstances that led him through the murder and much more.
Philo Vance is truly a New York bon vivant intellectual investigator who has intuitive and educated mind. For him solving murder mysteries is like playing the game of cards. He does it all in a subtle manner, leaving no reason to doubt or raise an eye brow.
All his professional deeds are carried out event by event and role by role. You cannot expect him to do childish acts while he is on the crime scene. His attire dishes out different meaning to the onlookers and even the suspects. This is a complete advantage point for Philo, as he remains to be undetected, while he directly pokes the criminals.
Van Dine clearly shows Vance has great passion for the art. Philo is educated on the Japanese and Chinese prints, and you can find him speaking at length on the tapestries and ceramics. Ask him about the Tanagra figurines, and you’d find him speaking about it from the scratch till end. He’s the detective of different tastes and different bent of mind. His intellectual sense outwits that of other detectives in the city, and combining together the complete aesthetic knowledge about the art, further makes him stand unique.
In The Kennel Murder Case, we come to know about his interest in the different dog breeds.
Likewise, while solving another murder case, he explicitly shows his interest in polo playing. This would simply come out to you altogether an amazing adventure.
While solving The Garden Murder Case, we find Philo’s amazing ability to handicap race horses, and in The Canary Murder Case he shows exemplary skills at the poker table. Still further, in The Bishop Murder Case, Philo shows his supreme adeptness in chess and archery.
And this is not the end of his skills. In solving The Scarab Murder Case, Philo shows his interest in Egyptology. Among all these skills, Philo falls short of showing skills at golf and at fencing. Philo is truly the Jack of all traits, and he has the courage to prove them!