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Ellery is aging: “He had been laid up for ten day a painful attack of sciatica, and he had been about to go mad when the clergyman called.” The matter is dropped there, and any cure Ellery may have tried is never mentioned.

In “The False Claimant Dept.: The Witch of Times Square,” (This Week, November 5, 1950), two strangers show up to lay claim to a fortune. Ellery solves the case by deceiving the men with what he knows is faulty science.The title, incidentally, is a reference to Hetty Green, known as the “Witch of Wall Street,” who died in 1916

The science has to do with traits passed down through the generations, or at least the little that had been deduced before the discovery of DNA just three years later, in 1953.  It is interesting to note that confusion over changes in scientific understandings is nothing new.

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