Philo Vance unravels rhymes in a deadly key. “Without question one of Van Dine’s finest achievements. . . his construction of plot is really quite superb” (Tipping My Fedora).
After solving the Greene murders, Philo Vance has taken a well-earned holiday in Switzerland. Returning to New York City he finds his old chum, District Attorney Anthony Markham, up against a bizarre series of murders inspired by children’s nursery rhymes. The first murder, involving a beautiful young woman and a private archery range, was apparently based on “Who Killed Cock Robin?”; it is followed by more hideous deaths referencing “Mother Goose.” But Philo Vance is not a man to be fobbed off with points to juvenilia. Markham and his colleagues may be worried that a certain Mr. H. Dumpty is riding for a great fall, but Philo Vance suspects a connection to a rather more sophisticated writer. In this “classic detective novel . . . a splendid example of the form . . . the game [is] played full out and to splendid effect” (Mystery File).
Praise for the Philo Vance series
“With his highbrow manner and his parade of encyclopedic learning, Philo Vance is not only a detective; he is a god out of the machine.” —The New York Times
“The Philo Vance novels were well-crafted puzzlers that captivated readers . . . the works of S.S. Van Dine serve to transport the reader back to a long-gone era of society and style of writing.” —Mystery Scene
“Outrageous cleverness . . . among the finest fruits of the Golden Age.” —Bloody Murder