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

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.


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.

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 book sounded like it would be lots of fun, and I read it hoping for a great mystery. In the end I think there were too many characters, and not enough information to make any of them seem real to me. I never really got why they were who they were, except on the most basic level. Each character was just glossed over, and even though they were described in a basic way, there was nothing to really draw me in or make me care about them.


Yes, this is a children’s book – a Newbery Medal winner from 1978. This was also my absolute favorite book from when I read it as a third grader until I was in middle school and discovered fantasy fiction. I saw it in a used bookstore and decided to press my luck and re-read it, hoping it wouldn’t disappoint me as other childhood favorites had done upon a re-reading (I’m looking at you, Hitchhiker’s Guide…). It didn’t. The Westing Game begins with sixteen seemingly random individuals invited to live in a beautiful building called Sunset Towers. The individuals are then invited to the reading of the will of the wealthy Samuel Westing, recently found dead. But rather than a standard will reading, the sixteen individuals are divided into pairs and given envelopes filled with random words from which they must decipher who the murderer of Samuel Westing is. Winner receives $200 million, and the game is on. The rest of the book details the connection of the individuals to each other, and the revelation of each of the team’s sets of clues. Two decades later in a re-read, and the solution to the mystery is far more obvious than it was to me in the third grade. But the way Raskin unfolds each set of clues, and finds plausible ways to attempt to mislead the reader with the clues, and two decades later, I can better appreciate her wordplay. A definite must-read for elementary school kids, and a recommended read for adults who missed reading this gem when they were in school. Still one of my favorites.


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!


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.


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.

Spartan 117

The Westing Game The Westing Game is a mystery about sixteen people who are mysteriously chosen to live in the Sunset Towers apartment building in Chicago. It turns out that they are all the heirs to millionaire Sam Westing, who was allegedly killed. The group of 16 are brought together to hear the reading of Westing’s will, which is in the form of a puzzle. The will divides 16 people into eight pairs, each with a different set of clues as to who killed Sam Westing. Each person is given $10,000 at the beginning of the “game,” and whoever solves the mystery will inherit Sam Westing’s $200 million fortune. This book will keep you guessing until the very end.


Summary: Seemingly unrelated families and individuals receive invitations to rent in a new apartment complex. Two months later, a millionaire is found dead in a nearby house, and most of the building's residents are invited (through the dead man's will) to solve his murder for the opportunity to win his inheritance.I was really impressed with this book - it has a large cast of characters that I found enchanting, and I felt like Raskin did an excellent job of giving all of them face time, so to speak. It also deals with social relationships and class in a manner that I feel is a lot more complex than is normally found in books aimed at this age group.While the mystery is fun, The Westing Game is really more about the characters discovering one another and themselves - near the beginning and near the end, all of the game's players are asked to write down their "position" in life, and it's used to charming effect to show the shift in how they identify themselves.The ending was a bit twee for me - I really wish she hadn't taken the route she did here. Overall, though, it was a fun book and highly recommended.


** spoiler alert ** The Westing GameBy Cynthia Saravia The Westing Game is a Thiller book. It is about the death of Mr.Westing. He has 16 people to take his money. They are paired into groups and the group who figues out the puzzle wins the money and his land. But what they don't know is that mr. Westing isn't actully died and the body that Turtle saw wasn't his, it was fake, Mr.Westing is playing the part of ... and he is in the race to what they don't know is that he is making the will as he goes and he is the one who sets the clues and puts the died body. Everyone tells him everything so he makes his will fun, but also it unties people until Turtle discover who he really and that no one there is an assanin.


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...

Jessica Donaghy

As a child, I probably read this book as many times as I watched the movie "Clue" (brilliance), and that is a lot! I loved (and still love) anything with a clever girl as a protagonist. Turtle can stand her ground among Nancy Drew and her ilk. Raskin's cast of characters feels somehow simultaneously real and fantastical, and the mystery is juicy enough to keep you hooked until the final moment of checkmate.


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

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.

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