The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin

Who were these people, these specially selected tenants? They were mothers and fathers and children. A dressmaker, a secretary, an inventor, a doctor, a judge. And, oh yes, one was a bookie, one was a burglar, one was a bomber, and one was a mistake.” (page 5)

Title: The Westing Game
Written by: Ellen Raskin
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: June 1997
Paperback: 217 pages

Sunset Towers (which faces east) has thirteen residents, a doorman, and a sixty-two-year-old delivery boy. From the north windows of Sunset Towers one can see the Westing house, the mansion where millionaire Samuel W. Westing lived before his disappearance. The residents live hum-drum lives until one Halloween night, Sam Westing is found dead in bed and each resident of Sunset Towers along with the doorman, delivery boy and a resident’s fiancé is named a potential heir to the two-hundred-million-dollar estate. Afterwards, the lives of the sixteen heirs are filled with bizarre and dangerous events as they begin to play the final Westing game!

As I stated in last week’s post of Ready Player One, (read review here) The Westing Game is one of my favorite books. I was referred to it last summer by half-a-dozen people who had performed in the stage play version of it. They kept going on and on about how great the play was, how it was their absolute favorite show they had ever been in, (et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.) I hate to admit that after a while, if someone said the word “Westing,” I just tuned out until the lovesick expressions on their faces wore off. It wasn’t until opening night of the show we were currently doing that someone bothered to mention the superlative, paramount, and transcendent Westing Game stage play was based on a book.

That changed everything.

I immediately put it on my To-Read List but due to the other one-hundred and nineteen books also on the list, only ending up reading it in December.

And no: that does not mean I finished reading the other one-hundred-and-nineteen books.

I absolutely adored The Westing Game. This book is amazing, incredible – everyone go read it.

*desperately wants to end blog post here.*

A dead man challenges his sixteen potential heirs to discover his killer by using the clues he prepared for them before his death. While they try to solve the clues they become snowed in, have two bombs set off, plan a wedding, have parties, tease each other, find there is a thief in the building, and investigate the other heirs (after all, one of them is the killer).

There is twist after twist in the book and it’s written with a quirky funniness that I’m such a sucker for.

I have only one problem with the book: Madame Hoo. The Chinese woman who recently came to America and married Mr. Hoo. I have no problem with her broken English (which she doesn’t use much) but her thoughts, although not as broken, didn’t rise above simple. The scenes with her as the point of view character felt dumbed down, and I just didn’t like it.


The rest of the book is insanely amazing and as I’m writing this way too late at night, I’m probably digging into the Madame Hoo deal too much.

I recommend this book as a funnier, family-friendly alternative to Ready Player One.

God bless you all and remember this:
Buy Westing Paper Products!”(page 39)

(Or just get a copy of The Westing Game – either one is fine.)

For More Information about the Book and Author Click: HERE or HERE

Age Range: eight – adult


Violence: A character describes Westing’s corpse to scare some kids. Turtle kicks people. A man is poisoned. Turtle finds a murdered man. Turtle stays with an old man as he dies. Several bombs go off in Sunset Towers and injure two (technically three) people. A girl supposedly commits suicide.

Sensuality: Grace suspects for a moment that her husband is having an affair. Angela is engaged to Doctor Denton Deere, and there is a lot of talk about her wedding. A marriage takes place and we are told about two others. A couple gets a divorce.

Profanity: None.

Other(drugs/alcohol): Mrs. Wexler gets drunk and several other characters drink. Turtle trespasses. Mrs. Wexler cares more about Angela than Turtle. Someone is stealing things. People lie. Turtle dresses as a witch. Mr. Hoo wants his son to focus more on studying than on athletics and calls his son dumb. Mrs. Hoo is portrayed as dumb. Chris Theodorakis is confined to a wheelchair, can’t speak very well, and loses control of his muscles when experiencing strong emotion.

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Cleanness Rating: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

2 thoughts on “The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin”

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