Background: Two-phonon excitations originating from the coupling of two collective one-phonon states are of great interest in nuclear structure physics. One possibility to generate low-lying E 1 excitations is the coupling of quadrupole and octupole phonons.Purpose: In this work, the γ -decay behavior of candidates for the (21+⊗31-)1- state in the doubly magic nucleus 40Ca and in the heavier and semimagic nucleus 140Ce is investigated. Methods: (γ ⃗,γ') experiments have been carried out at the High Intensity γ -ray Source (HI γ S ) facility in combination with the high-efficiency γ -ray spectroscopy setup γ3 consisting of HPGe and LaBr3 detectors. The setup enables the acquisition of γ -γ coincidence data and, hence, the detection of direct decay paths. Results: In addition to the known ground-state decays, for 40Ca the decay into the 31- state was observed, while for 140Ce the direct decays into the 21+ and the 02+ state were detected. The experimentally deduced transition strengths and excitation energies are compared to theoretical calculations in the framework of EDF theory plus QPM approach and systematically analyzed for N =82 isotones. In addition, negative parities for two J =1 states in 44Ca were deduced simultaneously. Conclusions: The experimental findings together with the theoretical calculations support the two-phonon character of the 11- excitation in the light-to-medium-mass nucleus 40Ca as well as in the stable even-even N =82 nuclei.