Title: The Westing Game
Author: Ellen Raskin
Publication Date: 1978
Number of Pages: 185
Awards: Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards: Fiction and Poetry, Newbery Medal
A group of seemingly unrelated strangers find out that they are potential heirs to the Westing fortune, but only if they can solve Westing’s murder.
When the luxury apartment building Sunset Towers opens, six families and individuals are personally invited to move in. Soon after Sunset Towers is fully occupied, the residents and employees are called to the nearby Westing mansion to find out that they are all heirs to the fortune of the recently murdered paper tycoon Sam Westing. However, there is a catch: one of the heirs is Sam Westing’s murderer, and for anyone to inherit his fortune the mystery of his death must be solved. The heirs are split up into pairs and given a set of clues and $10,000. The game to solve the murder begins, bringing thefts, bombs, and unlikely friendships to Sunset Towers. Just when the residents think that they’ve solved the murder, everything they thought they knew is turned upside-down, and they realize that the death of Sam Westing is more complicated than they could have imagined.
I haven’t read many mysteries, but I consider The Westing Game to be an excellent contribution to the genre. The novel is full of interesting and complex characters. I particularly liked the novel’s many twists and turns – the resolution of the mystery is not fully revealed until the very end. This was a suspensive, engaging, and fun read.
Why I Chose the Book:
I remembered reading it as a child and really enjoying it. I also really wanted to know who the murderer was because I had forgotten over the years!
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Book Talk Ideas
Host a murder mystery party. Give each student or patron a character and some clues, and let them use their detective skills to solve the case.
1. Many of the characters go by nicknames or assumed identities. How does this shape the game?
2. When you first started reading the novel, who did you think was the murderer? Why? Did your suspicions change while reading the novel?
Amazon (2014). Pricing information. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Westing-Game-Ellen-Raskin/dp/0525471375/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1399674637&sr=8-1
Goodreads (2014). The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1123662.The_Westing_Game
Raskin, E. (1978). The Westing Game [Kindle Edition]. New York: Dutton.
“The Westing Game.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 01 Jan. 2001. Web. 9 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=097394&site=novpk8-live>.