reading: ‘The Westing Game’


Friday flashback: it’s 1978 and Ellen Raskin’s children’s novel The Westing Game has just been published. That’s 35 years ago, people. But time has not diminished this wonderful book for me. In fact, we just finished reading it as a family.

Normally, if I ‘review’ a book, I give a synopsis and then editorialise a bit. The Westing Game, however, requires something more. So, I’ll do the set up, but the editorialising will come from The Children and The Husband.

Picture this:

  • one dead millionaire, Sam Westing, whose mansion is overlooked by…
  • one luxury apartment building, inhabited by…
  • 16 ‘heirs’ to the millionaire’s fortune, who must work in pairs to solve…
  • one mystery — who killed the millionaire?

And he who solves it becomes the sole heir to the 200 million dollar fortune, as well as owner of the Westing Paper Products company.


What did The Children and The Husband think?

The Husband, first-time reader
His take: ‘The story was certainly unique, with interesting and diverse characters. And the fact that they all learned something important about themselves along the way, that they were all better people for having played the ‘game’, that was great.’
Would you read it again? Sure.

The Children, includes both first-time and repeat readers
Their take: ‘It’s fun how the idea of a typical murder mystery gets twisted.’
‘And that even though if you’ve read it before, it still keeps you guessing with how each pair solves their riddles – and who does what in the end.’
‘Rereading it was just as fun as the first time!’
‘Yeah, it was good, but I’m pretty disappointed that there’s not a second book; I wanted the story to go on.’
‘There is lots of deception, which keeps you guessing.’
‘And everyone gets mixed up; you don’t know who’s seen what or doing the bombing and stuff.’
‘Except for one; one person knows. One person figures it out.’
‘And that’s the surprising ending.’
‘It’s cool. But we like cool stuff.’
‘And puzzles. We like puzzles.’
Would you read it again? YES!

Me too. Because it’s like ‘Clue’ – only better, because it’s a book and you learn a lot about every character. Except the ending is always the same. And it would be nice to have another book. Perhaps about what happens when the ‘new’ heir needs to find a new heir?


with my first copy

Enjoy your weekend, people. And I hope it includes reading. ‘BOOM!’


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