Playboy stockbroker, Alvin Benson, is found in his brownstone mansion with a bullet through his head. First on the scene is Philo Vance, amateur detective, who is at once intrigued by the absence of Alvin's toupee and his false teeth. With a jigsaw of odd clues he sets off in pursuit of an elusive murderer, making obvious his disdain for the professional crime-solvers of the police and the DA's office. To him, they seem to be hopelessly addicted to the pernicious practice of looking for physical clues and circumstantial evidence. His own theory is that psychology is the key.
The first in the Philo Vance series, The Benson Murder Case, originally published in 1926, has all the hallmarks of a ripping, puzzle-solving crime.