There Was An Old Woman named Cornelia Potts, who amassed a fortune selling shoes: Potts Shoes are America's Shoes - $3.99 Everywhere! This eccentric woman lived with her six adult children in a mansion most notable for a huge bronze statue of an Oxford Shoe that decorated the extensive lawn. Her children from her first marriage - the aggressive Thurlow, the secretive Louella, and the playful Horatio - are all decidedly unbalanced. The three children from her second marriage, the twins Robert and Maclyn, and the beautiful Sheila, appear normal. Her argumentative son, Thurlow, challenged one of the twins to a duel. Mrs. Potts didn't know what to do. Actually, Mrs. Potts was not even concerned.
There Was An Old Woman (1943) is a classic Ellery Queen mystery. The reader is challenged to unravel a carefully constructed logical puzzle. The unusual setting, the eccentric characters, and the bizarre murders add spice to the effort. In the final chapters Ellery Queen peels away layers of confusion and misdirection, finally unveiling the culprit. The solution is surprising. Queen's logic, as usual, is convincing.
The Ellery Queen novels were immensely popular during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Paperback editions continued to be widely available in the 1960s and 1970s. Signet Classic Mysteries often packaged two Ellery Queen mysteries together as a double mystery. Later, fifty year commemorative editions were published, beginning in 1979 with the first Ellery Queen novel, The Roman Hat Mystery (1929). Reprints (from HarperPerennial and others) continue to be published today.
I particularly recommend the early Ellery Queen mysteries, especially The French Powder Mystery, The Greek Coffin Mystery, The Egyptian Cross Mystery, The Siamese Twin Mystery, The Chinese Orange Mystery, and The Spanish Cape Mystery.