S.S. Van Dine (Willard Huntington Wright)
BiographyCharlottesville, Virginia, USA
Willard Huntington Wright was born to Archibald Davenport Wright and Annie Van Vranken Wright on October 15, 1887, in Charlottesville. He attended St. Vincent College, Pomona College, and Harvard University. He also studied art in Munich and Paris, an apprenticeship that led to a job as literary and art critic for the Los Angeles Times. From 1912 to 1914, he edited "The Smart Set," a New York literary magazine, and continued writing as a critic and journalist until 1923, when he became ill from overwork. His doctor confined him to bed because of a heart ailment for more than two years. Read more... frustration, he began collecting thousands of volumes of crime and detection. In 1926, all this work paid off with the publication of his first "S.S. Van Dine" novel, "The Benson Murder Case." He went on to write 11 more, and his aristocratic amateur sleuth, Philo Vance (who shares a love of aesthetics like Wright), was so popular that Wright became wealthy for the first time in his life. He moved into a penthouse and enjoyed spending his fortune in a style similar to that of elegant Philo.