30 June 2014

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Prior to hearing about The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin on Ana's blog, the book hadn't crossed my mind in almost two decades. Once I read the title, a tiny flicker of memory lit up, and while I could remember no details about the book, a positive feeling persisted. I am so glad I read it again as this book is tricksy fun.

Sixteen people are invited to live in a new apartment complex on the banks of Lake Michigan, and later they come together to hear the will of one Sam Westing. Divided into 8 pairs, the confused heirs are challenged to solve the riddle of Westing's death. The winner will inherit $200 million fortune and Westing Paper Products.

Fun, fun! I have a soft spot for books centered around puzzles like this. Not mystery novels, but stories where ordinary people are put into a position to solve a riddle of some sort. This one doesn't disappoint. While it is clearly written as middle grade fiction, The Westing Game has enough going for it to keep older - and even much older - readers entertained.

Primarily the interest lies in the characters. With such a large cast it would be easy to have superficial unconnectable characters, but Raskin does a pretty decent job of making at least half of the heirs (our main cast) unique, relatable, and sympathetic. If you are wavering as to whether or not to read this book, just look over the cast list at wikipedia.

As for the puzzly bits, they are clever without being pretentious and solvable without being simple. Definitely give this one a go if you haven't already, and if it's been years and years, as it was for me, pick it up again and lose yourself in an easy, entertaining tale.


  1. Ooh this sounds like a fun one! I never read it as a child.

  2. I love this book! I sort of wish it hadn't been the first Ellen Raskin book I ever read, because it spoiled me for her other stuff. I kept expecting her other books to be as brilliant as The Westing Game, and they never were!

    1. I will keep that in mind and steer clear of her other books.

  3. I read this one over and over as a kid. I love this book!


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