Friday, May 6, 2011
The Westing Game
Raskin, E. (1978). The Westing Game. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.
Barney Northrup sent letters to potential renters of the apartments in Sunset Towers. In one day he had rented all the apartments to the only people he had sent letters, their names already printed up on the mailboxes before they agreed. Soon after moving in, the residents were invited to the Westing house on the hill for a reading of Samuel Westing's will. The house had been empty for some time, but smoke mysteriously had come out of the chimney one night, the night Mr. Westing died. As they gathered to hear the reading of the will, the residents were informed that one of them was the murderer and it was up to the others to determine who that was. They would each receive $10,000 to play the game, the winner becoming Westing's heir of over $200 million. The residents were paired off, some in the unlikeliest of pairs, and each given a set of clues. From these clues the pairs were to determine who was the murderer. The Westing Game had begun, players consisting of a dressmaker, a secretary, an inventor, a doctor, a judge, a bookie, a burglar, a bomber, and a mistake, and ultimately not what it seemed at all.
This book is fantastic. It was just as good reading it now as it was when I was a kid. It is a wonderful mystery, full of twists and turns, and an unlikely ending. The characters are wonderfully developed, each with their own quirks and secrets. One of my favorite parts of the book is the unlikely pairings of residents and how they each end up growing to care about one another and helping each other. Through this, the reader is reminded to not always judge a person without knowing them. Even though it is over 30 years old, the book stands up to the years, it isn't outdated at all. Tweens will love reading this book, as I did when I was younger. This book is likely to have and continue to awaken the mystery lover within many a young reader. An truly incredibly book, not a dull moment at all.
Ages 9 - 12
murder, inheritance, friendship
Newbery Medal winner
ALA Notable book
Sam Westing (Barney Northrup, Sandy McSouthers, Mr. Eastman, Windy Windkloppel): millionaire owner of Westing Paper Products; likes to play chess; poses as salesman; poses as a doorman and heir to his own inheritance; poses as new director of Westing Paper Products; was married to Crow; paid for Judge Ford's schooling; loves the 4th of July; develops the Westing Game
Turtle Wexler (Alice, Tabitha-Ruth, T.R.): junior high student; likes to kick people in the shins; wears braids; plays the stocks; sister to Angela; partner to Flora Baumbach
Angela Wexler: engaged to Dr. Denton Deere; older sister to Turtle; partner to Sydelle; a bomber
Dr. Denton Deere: plastic surgery intern; engaged to Angela; partners to Chris
Grace Wexler: interior decorator; becomes a restaurateur; wife to Jake; mother to Turtle and Angela; partner to James; niece of Sam Westing
Jake Wexler: podiatrist; husband of Grace; father of Turtle and Angela; partner to Sun Lin; a bookie
James Shin Hoo: restaurateur; inventor; father of Doug; husband of Sun Lin; partner to Grace
Sun Lin Hoo: second wife of James Hoo; stepmother to Doug; cook at Hoo's restaurant; partner to Jake; a burglar
Douglas Hoo: track star; son of James Hoo; friend and partner of Theo
Flora Baumbach (Baba): dressmaker; partner to Turtle
Otis Amber: delivery boy for Sunset Towers; private investigator; partner and eventual husband to Crow
Sydelle Pulaski: secretary; fakes an ailment for attention; paints her crutches to match her outfits; partner to Angela; is a mistake
Berthe Erica Crow: cleaning woman for Sunset Towers; wife of Sam Westing; partner and eventual wife of Otis
Theo Theodorakis: high school senior; works in family's coffee shop; his father was once in love with Sam Westing's daughter; brother to Chris; plays chess; friend and partner to Doug
Christos Theodorakis: younger brother of Theo; has a degenerative disease; confined to wheelchair; studies birds; partner to Dr. Denton Deere
Judge J.J. Ford (Josie-Jo): judge; partner to Sandy; Sam Westing paid for her schooling
The residents of Sunset Towers are invited by the recently deceased Sam Westing to play a game. The participants play to discover the murderer among them and to win Mr. Westing's inheritance.