The Westing Game

ISBN: 014240120X
ISBN 13: 9780142401200
By: Ellen Raskin

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About this book

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one things' for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!Winner of the Newbery MedalWinner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book AwardAn ALA Notable Book

Reader's Thoughts


To me, this book is so my childhood. I remember reading it over and over again growing up and somehow it never got old... the ridiculous antics of the characters, which were somehow realistic despite the fact that they're obviously caricatures, the mystery behind it all, and the constants twists and turns of the plotline. And behind all of it, my joy at being able to cheer on the most obnoxious character of them all, because I connect with her. Somehow it never gets old to me, I'm still always surprised when I reach the end... I love to wait till I can forget the majority of the storyline, and then re-read it to re-discover it all over again!


Every time I read this book I wish they would make a movie of it so I could play Turtle...

Book Review Team

The Westing Game is about 16 heirs competeing for Sam's Westing's inheritance. This book is a clever mystery full of excitement, danger. and suspicion. There are 8 teams, each team has a set of clues and together they must understand them. Together you must find out who Mrs. Westing is and who killed Sam Westing. You too may strike it rich, who dares to play...The Westing Game. We really loved this book it keeps you on your toes and every little thing matters. If you like a suspenseful, exciting book that you can't put down this book is for you. Remember: it's not what you have it's what you don't have that counts.-KMD, CMZ"This is a great book, if you like books that are mysteries that follow one path and that you feel like you are helping solve, this would be a great book for you. It is just like a game as Sam Westing tries to determine his heir, and who is not worthy to be in the game any longer. You start to feel close to all of the characters during some of the best and most suspenseful moments. I highly recomend reading The Westing Game." -MKSI am currently reading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. It is about a game. Samuel Westing has invited 16 heirs to play in his game. The game will see who will win his vast fortune. Sam Westing may be dead but that is not stopping him from playing his last game. So far I am really enjoying this book. It is very suspenseful and most things that come up you would not expect at all. Around every corner is another surprise and I cant wait to solve the mystery. -JNM


Alright, I finally read it. The copy I read has a copyright date of 1978. So it was kind of interesting to read a book that was born the same year I was!Amazingly, the fact that it was such an old copy was slightly distracting. The changes in stylistic trends is quite obvious. I didn't realize how much of the way I read is based on how things are organized and addressed in type and breaks and alignment. I'm not used to reading mysteries, so for me this was a little hard to follow (quite sad, huh, being a kid's book and all.) I got the gist in the end, and was pleasantly surprised. However, I am always disconcerted when something is left "unresolved" in the end. It makes me crazy!Overall, I'd say this was like the movie "Clue" but without the self-disparagement. I wonder what I would have rated this book if I'd read it as a kid...


Definitely my favorite book read in childhood. I read it so many times, I can still recite the first page, and also quote from it even though it's not a terribly quotable book.Sam Westing has gathered his heirs together to solve the mystery of his death and also to teach some of them a lesson. He pairs them up into unlikely duos and hands out clues written on Westing Paper Products paper towels. All of them are interesting, somewhat quirky characters. All of them have something to hide. And answers come from the unlikeliest of places.I recommend this book to everyone under the age of 15, and I still love it every time I read it.


The first time I read this book was probably 1980. A long time ago. But I remember reading it in one day. Because every time I put it down, it didn't stay there for long. I HAD to get back to the book to find out what was happening. I HAD to try to figure out the clues!So this time I thought I would take things a little slower. I checked out the e-book on my I-phone and started reading it during a long wait at the doctor's office on Monday. Then I had to read some more the next morning. And then I had to read some more. So today I checked out the hardcover copy and read some more at lunch. Then I took it home and read the last 150 pages in one sitting. I think if I had the hardcover copy on Wednesday I would have finished it then. So much for savoring and anticipating. And so much for thinking the book would be ruined because I'd read it before. This is one of the best juvenile mysteries around. It is hard to explain why the plot is just so darn fascinating. But I'm going to try to get this in the hands of more kids. It is just SO good!


It's a shame that such a wonderful book has such a boring and dated cover. I think more kids (and adults, ahem) might pick up. I loved each and every one of the characters and the way Raskin made even the insignificant ones stand out at some point in the book. I was surprised at how I got a little teary-eyed at the end. Certainly, not a response I expected to have from a mystery novel. Well done.

Isaac Blevins

I read this little book for the first time not as a child - but as an adult. I was looking for a book to kick off our Junior High book club and picked up the Westing Game to see if it might be a good place to begin. I wish that I had found this book earlier in my life. What kid wouldn't be captivated by wonderful characters thrown together to play a game hosted by a dead millionaire? Don't get me wrong...Mr. Westing isn't a vampire or a zombie - he's just decided that his heirs need to do a little puzzle solving in order to earn their share of his estate. While the mystery and the puzzles are fun and wonderfully clever, it's the characters that really make this novel. All of the characters reside and work in the same high rise apartment building within view of the looming Westing estate. Getting snowed in with them is like being trapped with the most interesting people you could imagine - both good and bad. By the end of the novel it's almost like you're part of a family reunion you know these people so well.Do yourself a favor - if you're a kid: pick up this book and have a wonderful time!- if you're an adult: pick up this book and enjoy being a kid again!


this is what i am going to do: i am going to take a red panda, and i am going to learn genetics and i dunno - neuroscience. and welding. and i am going to take a little bit of my brain, and a little bit of everyone's brain here on (you'll be asleep, you wont feel a thing) and then i am going to moosh it all together, and put it in the brain of the red panda. and then i will have the perfect book-recommending resource. because if i had had one of these when i was little, then it would have told me, "you love peggy parrish and her wordplay-based mysteries and you have seen the movie clue enough times that you can recite the whole thing (still can). here's a book you will like". i would have to fine tune it so it works better than the one they have on or (because, no, i would not like to see the aviator, thank you). i would have loved this book like crazy as a kid. as a grown up, i liked it very much, but thought the characters could have used a little fleshing out to make them more defined. the child-me would not have cared. now i have to go write 250 academic words about it. so much less fun than mad scientisting.


What a surpisingly delightful little puzzle of a book! And it made me giggle more than once, too.Is this too new to be considered a classic? Too bad, it's going in there anyway - I rarely read anything pre-2000s and my classics shelf is a little skimpy.

Clare Wojda

1. Genre - Realistic Fiction2. Awards - Newbery Medal, Banta Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction, Virginia Readers' Choice Award3. Grade Level - 5-64. This is a great mystery book which has a plethora of options for activities in class. When first handing out the books, I would assign each student in my class a character from the book and hand them a case file. As the weeks went on with the students reading independently outside of the classroom, they would be responsible for collecting evidence on all of the other characters in their case file and documenting who they thought they murderer was. While in class, the students would have to remain in character and we would have interrogations of various characters by the rest of the class to collect further evidence of who, what, when, where, and why to try to discover who the murderer was. At the end of the book the mystery would obviously be revealed and we would have a day in class when everyone dressed up as their character and interacted accordingly with their peers.

Doug B.

This was the December pick for a book club I'm in and I think that had I read it when I was the target age, I probably would have enjoyed it more. I did not dislike the book, but I was not as enthusiastic about it as most seem to be. The characterization was ok but I found Turtle, arguably the main character somewhat annoying with her predilection towards kicking folks, although I did like her interest in finance and law. In fact the female characters overall were stronger than their male counterparts and I enjoyed their portrayal for the most part. The mystery aspects I did not find too enthralling, but how each character interpreted clues through their own filter (ie chess, chemistry, finance) was well done. The ending raised the book a notch for me as I thought it was handled well. I wonder if the youth of today would connect with this work. In the age of quick internet searches would the research on the clues seem antiquated? In the end I'm not sorry I read this book, but it won't land on my list of favorite young adult reads.


Autumn PelfreyDecember 15,2013period-3rdThe Westing Game by Ellen Raskin Mr. Westing believes his life has been wrongly taken from him. His will states that whomever discovers the truth behind this will inherit everything. The tenants of Sunset Towers are paired off and each given a clue to find out who took Mr. Westing's life and possibly inherit millions. The handpicked residents of Sunset Towers all thought they were something special. Especially when they all received the same invite to the reading of Mr. Westing’s will. Clearly each and every one of them must have been related to the head of a huge paper company worth millions. As each one arrives at the Westing mansion located near Sunset Towers, each tenant is surprised to find all their neighbors present. All of the residents of Sunset Towers were related to Mr. Westing and didn't even know it. The Westing Game is written in such detail around every page corner that it is filled themes and ideas. Ellen Raskin has a very unique, style of writing that gets to the point of the story, which I love, and it entertains me. The Westing Game is one I recommend to readers of all levels, as they will enjoy the story of The Westing Game in all the adventures.


This was a WONDERFUL, charming read. I read it to my son's 6th grade class (a very tough crowd) who actually loved it, interacted with it and begged for more books like it.

Tori Smith

I'm halfway through the Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, and so far, it's confusing and hard to read because of all of the different point of views. While one character is doing something that draws your attention, another character will step right in and start rambling about something completely different. I usually love books with mystery as the genre, but this book is just so disoriented, it's driving me insane! After reading 30-40 I barely had any clue of who was who or what was really going going on. If the Westing Game was only one or two characters, I would for sure want too finish the book, because, don't get me wrong, the plot is good, but I'm not sure I enjoy reading a book with twelve different characters and one situation, it just gets boring after awhile. The Westing Game is probably one of my least favorite books I've read in a while.

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