ⓘ The Bishop Murder Case is the fourth in a series of mystery novels by S. S. Van Dine about fictional detective Philo Vance. The detective solves a mystery built ..

The Bishop Murder Case

ⓘ The Bishop Murder Case

The Bishop Murder Case is the fourth in a series of mystery novels by S. S. Van Dine about fictional detective Philo Vance. The detective solves a mystery built around a nursery rhyme. The Bishop Murder Case is believed to be the first nursery-rhyme mystery book.


1. Plot summary

The story involves a series of murders taking place in a wealthy neighborhood of New York City. The first murder, of a Mr. Joseph Cochrane Robin, who is found pierced by an arrow, is accompanied by a note signed "The Bishop", with an extract from the nursery rhyme, "Who Killed Cock Robin". This crime takes place at the home of an elderly physicist with a beautiful young ward and a private archery range. District Attorney Markham finds the circumstances so unusual that he asks his friend Philo Vance to advise upon the psychological aspects of the crime. Further murders connected with the physicists family and neighbours are accompanied with similar extracts from Mother Goose, such as the case of Johnny Sprigg, "who was shot through the middle of his wig, wig, wig." Midway through the book, an elderly woman confesses to the crimes, but this possibility is discounted by the police for physical reasons and by Philo Vance for psychological ones. Vance and the police luckily discover the kidnapping and confinement of a little Miss Moffatt before the child suffocates in the closet in which she has been locked. Vance finally realizes the significance of one characters pointed reference to The Pretenders, a play written by Henrik Ibsen; Bishop Arnesson of Oslo was a prominent character in the play. Vance arranges a spectacular finale in which the criminal is poisoned by a glass of liqueur which that person prepared for another suspect.


2. Literary significance & criticism

Modern interest in this book stems at least partly from its role as a precursor of other books with a similar design, such that the underlying circumstances of a series of murders appear to be related to an external source, such as, in this instance, Mother Goose stories. Many other later Golden Age mystery novels are constructed around a formal scheme. Agatha Christie used this motif in Ten Little Indians and a number of other novels constructed around the basis of a nursery rhyme, or another linking device like the alphabet The A.B.C. Murders.

"Philo Vance is more pedantic than ever and talks absolute rot except for passages quoted from encyclopedias about modern physics and math. A young scientist is framed for a series of apparently meaningless killings and the solution is pulled out of a hat after Vance has finished lecturing."

"The murderer in this story has an uncommon sense of humor and of sportsmanship. In a non-stop trail of successive murders, a note is discovered at each scene. Each note contains a nursery rhyme with a false clue and is signed "The Bishop." Philo Vance finally puts a stop to the fun, which had included a generous sprinkling of archery, chess and astronomy, mixed with poison and bloodshed."


3. Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

A film starring Basil Rathbone was made of The Bishop Murder Case in 1930. The film was an early "talkie" and lacks a music soundtrack.

Some elements from the mysterys plot were referenced in Dario Argentos giallo comeback movie, Sleepless called Non ho sonno in Italy, which featured killings referencing a nursery rhyme.

  • harboring the murderers of his uncle. He placed the blame for the murder on the clergy serving under the Bishops He proceeded to seize by force the estates
  • had relationships with women The Telegraph - Herald. March 3, 2000. Retrieved August 23, 2011. New Hope in Case of Murdered Priest International News Analysis
  • Mason in the sixth, The Case of the Stuttering Bishop 1937 Finally, William Lundigan became Mason in the last of the series, The Case of the Black Parrot
  • charged with one count of capital murder and three counts of attempted murder On September 11, 2012, Bishop pled guilty to the above charges after family members
  • 1957  5 December 1979 was murdered in Southampton, England, in 1979. Her murder led to one of the longest proven cases of a miscarriage of justice in
  • and presumed murders in the United Kingdom. It does not include any of the 3, 000 or so murders that took place in Northern Ireland due to the Troubles and
  • The rape and murder of Angie Dodge was a cold case in Idaho Falls, Idaho, that remained open from the crime s occurrence on June 18, 1996, until May 2019
  • Wicked. Both books were integrated as episodes in the TV series. Murder Call deals with the cases confronted by an unconventional team of homicide detectives
  • Bishop advanced included that the murder weapon, which Bailey claimed he had sold to a man near Coober Pedy before the murders was never found. The description

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