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The Westing Game

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Author: Ellen Raskin
Published: June, 1997
Review by: CL4 Robert Griffith

In Ellen Raskin's "The Westing Game," sixteen people vie for a chance to win two hundred million dollars in the ultimate mind game; however, there's a catch. In order to win, each pair must solve a spectacular puzzle -- Who killed Sam Westing? -- using only two clues scrawled on Westing Paper Products Paper Towels! And one more thing; one of the heirs is the murderer!

Each set of heirs quickly begins their mission, seeking out any and all information that they can find on their competitors. Fortunately, I was able to sneak a look at what they have put together, and here is what I found:

James Hoo, a fifty year-old Chinese Restaurateur, sued Sam Westing over the rights to the disposable paper diaper. He was awarded only twenty-five thousand dollars, a paltry sum in his opinion.

Flora Baumbach, sixty, a dressmaker whose husband left her years ago. Her daughter died nearly a year ago from a childhood illness. Her connection to Westing is that she was the woman who made the dress for Violent Westing's wedding. Violet never did get to wear the dress, as she took her own life shortly before the wedding.

Otis Amber, aged sixty-two, is a delivery boy for Sunset Towers, the apartment complex where all sixteen heirs live. His IQ is 50, and his connection to Westing is simple, as he is the man who delivers all the letters from Westing's attorney, E.J. Plum.

Denton Deere, a twenty-five year old graduate of UW Medical School has only one connection to Westing; his fiancÚ looks remarkably similar to Sam Westing's daughter, Violet.

Fifty-year-old Sydelle Pulaski, while one of the Westing Heirs, seemingly has no connection to her benefactor. A secretary to the president of Schultz Sausages, she is now taking her first vacation in twenty-five years with six-months time saved up.

Berthe Erica Crow, fifty-seven, was married at sixteen and divorced by forty. Her ex-husbands' name is Windy Windkloppel. After taking up religion, Berthe became involved with charity, lending her time and experience to the Good Salvation Soup Kitchen on Skid Row. The cleaning woman of Sunset Towers, she lives in the maid's apartment on the fourth floor. No connection to Westing has been found.

Jake Wexler, forty-five, Grace Windsor Wexler, forty-two, Angela Wexler, aged twenty, and Turtle Wexler, thirteen, are all named as heirs to the Westing fortune. Grace claims that Westing is her real uncle, and Angela looks like Violet Westing, but those are the only connections that they seem to have to Sam Westing.

Theo and Christos Theodorakis, seventeen and fifteen respectively, are named heirs despite the fact that their father was the childhood sweetheart of Violet Westing. Mrs. Westing broke up the affair, as she wanted her daughter to marry a rich politician. Neither of their parents are named as heirs.

Alexander McSouthers, sixty-five, is the doorman at Sunset Towers, and worked for twenty years at the Westing Paper Plant. He was fired for trying to organize the workers, and was denied a pension.

Which of these people could be the murderer? Who will inherit two hundred million dollars? Go to your local bookstore and buy "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin today!

2003