Skip to main content

Van Dine, S. S. (1888-1939)

Van Dine, S. S. (1888-1939)

The "Golden Age" of the detective novel is generally considered to have been the years between World Wars I and II. S. S. Van Dine's first Philo Vance detective novel, The Benson Murder Case (1926), is often cited as the book that began this era. Although there were only 12 Vance novels and his popularity fell as quickly as it rose, Vance was by far the bestselling mystery character of his time. Born Willard Huntington Wright in Charlottesville, Virginia, Van Dine first became known as an editor and literary critic for the Los Angeles Times and then for Smart Set magazine. By the 1930s Van Dine's following as a mystery writer was already beginning to fade. He began writing for motion pictures and contributed a chapter to The President's Mystery Story, published by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935.

—Jill A. Gregg

Further Reading:

Loughery, John. Alias S. S. Van Dine. New York, Scribners, 1992.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Van Dine, S. S. (1888-1939)." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . 22 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Van Dine, S. S. (1888-1939)." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . (January 22, 2019).

"Van Dine, S. S. (1888-1939)." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . Retrieved January 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.