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There Was An Old Woman [Paperback]

Ellery Queen

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Book Description

Dec 9 1991
Hunting a masterful murderer poses a starker challenge than supersleuth Ellery Queen realized. "One of the very best of the Ellery Queen mysteries".--New York Times.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial US; Reprint edition (Dec 9 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060974400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060974404
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric Characters, Well-Crafted Plot - Challenging Oct. 26 2004
By Michael Wischmeyer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tantalising June 4 2000
By jenny mah chin hua - Published on Amazon.com
This is one of the best Ellery Queen's books I have ever read. It just kept you guessing as to who is the killer. I have read a number of mystery books and Ellery Queen is by far the best. When the identity of the killer was finally revealed in the end I can only shake my head and say 'now why didn't I think of that?'
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool! Aug. 31 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I read it at bed time every night. I awaited every moment to find out what happens next. It's a great mystery and you don't know til the very end what will happen.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic combination of Queen the puzzler and Queen the novelist Dec 18 2012
By Thomas Holt - Published on Amazon.com
In my re-reading of Ellery Queen, I passed the Hollywood novels by with no qualms - turgid stuff - and the Wrightsville series with no problems (attempted re-readings failed to stir the slightest interest). But, 'There was an Old Woman' created the most pleasant memories - not to be disappointed. Here was the Queen of the first nine novels - grown up; with a witty, if fantastic scenario, a fairly difficult puzzle, and some of the whackiest characters you will find in literature. The nursery rhyme theme dictates the plot, to and extent, and is a great compliment to Agatha Christie; three of whose similar themed novels preceded this one by up to five years.

I won't go into the detail of the plot, others have done that as well as I could. All I have to say is that Ellery Queen was one of the best writers to indulge in detective fiction, and this book is a credit to the genre and a great deal of fun.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EQ At The Top of Has Game April 8 2011
By drkhimxz - Published on Amazon.com
For only a quarter plus the customary shipping charges, I was able to pick up a decent paper bound reading copy of this top of the line Ellery Queen puzzler. Written in 1943, Ellery has changed from the S. S. Van Dine (Willard Wright) type of cold blooded thinking machine (as was Philo Vance) to a much more likable chap, human enough to acquire a female secretary who actually heats up his blood (Nikki Porter). Following this book she appears occasionally in later novels and was a regular in the popular radio series of this period.
As was characteristic of his best work, there is a powerful offbeat character at the center of the action. As is customary, this very idiosyncratic person lives in distinctive surroundings among a cast of not quite all there supporting players.
Ellery innocently comes to visit at the inducement of a friend in love with the one reasonably normal person in the place and soon finds himself a second to a participant in a modern day duel. From then on, the initial problem is confounded by complexity and yet more problems arise until Ellery emerges with a conclusion.... or does he.
As always well written, peopled with interesting characters and situations, and with a thread of humor, the book shows no signs of aging, despite the weight of 68 years at this writing. Recommended to all who take to mysteries that offer literacy, problem-solving, and the triumph of good over evil.

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