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The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The Westing Game (original 1978; edition 1997)

by Ellen Raskin (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,940307552 (4.1)2 / 302
The mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance.
Title:The Westing Game
Authors:Ellen Raskin (Author)
Info:Puffin Books (1997), Edition: Reprint, Reissue, 208 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1978)

  1. 120
    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (infiniteletters, Anonymous user)
  2. 50
    The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (bezoar44)
    bezoar44: The Mysterious Benedict Society features a team of kids working to solve puzzles and unravel a dangerous mystery at a claustrophobic boarding school; the Westing Game pits several teams of kids and adults, residents of an apartment building, against one another in a race to decode a will and solve several related mysteries.… (more)
  3. 31
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (chinquapin)
  4. 10
    The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan (cmbohn)
  5. 10
    Father's Arcane Daughter by E. L. Konigsburg (ansate)
  6. 10
    Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (infiniteletters)
  7. 10
    Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein (trollsdotter)
  8. 00
    The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (g33kgrrl)
  9. 00
    The Clock Without a Face by Eli Horowitz (sduff222)
  10. 00
    The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman (foggidawn)
  11. 00
    The Spider-Orchid by Celia Fremlin (sietsmareadinglist)
  12. 02
    The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (SFRFS335)
    SFRFS335: Both books are amazingly written.

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» See also 302 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 305 (next | show all)
I definitely have some nostalgia goggles on a bit with this one but I just love this story so much. I've talked to a bunch of people about this book while re-reading it and almost every person I've talked to read it in elementary school and has really fond memories of it.

I first read this book in 4th or 5th grade and just loved. I remember flying through the book because I found it so engaging and I just had to know how it ended. Yes, this book at times may be a little over the top but I think that's one of the things that kept me reading as a child. Even now, I can appreciate the over-the-top nature of this book. Even though it might seem crazy at times, everything written just seemed so intentional to me. You could tell that Ellen Raskin put so much effort into planning out what this story was going to be and exactly how she wanted to write it. There are definitely flaws in this book, don't get me wrong, but this was just such an important book to me as a child and I still love it so much, so forgive me if I'm willing to overlook those issues.

I love going back and re-reading books I read when I was younger. Sometimes, like with this book, they're still really good, and sometimes I can't imagine why I liked it. Either way I love knowing that those books I read as a child helped me become a reader and continue reading to this day. Reading this makes me want to go back and re-read more of the books I know I read in elementary school just to so what kind of books I loved when I was a kid. ( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
The end made the entire book worth reading. ( )
  astronomist | Oct 3, 2021 |
The mystery was interesting, until it was revealed, and then... I'm not sure what happened. As I looked back at the book, it's skills and flaws, and the reading experience I wasn't really filled with good feelings. What can I say? I'm an oddball, I guess.

I suppose it has to do with the lack of emotional engagement that we have with the characters. It really reminded me, in a way, of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As hard as the mystery is, I prefer the others. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Author Ellen Raskin sounded more interesting in the introduction by Ann Durell than almost all of her characters. Turtle Wexler was a hoot, but the rest were pretty flat, there were too many of them and their relationships to each other and magnate Sam Westing (making them heirs) took way too long to discern. Many reviewers have compared this to Agatha Christie, but I don't see it, except possibly for the book's basic premise. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
I loved that you had enough information to solve the mystery upon your first reading. Unlike Sherlock Holmes' mysteries, you could actually find the conclusion. Even if you didn't you found yourself immersed in the story. ( )
  ednasilrak | Jun 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 305 (next | show all)
The book seems to suggest that the real American inheritance is transformation, and that American transformation is a mercurial thing.
Ultimately, although the story is an exciting who-done-it, the emphasis on the ‘who’ is what keeps readers coming back. The characters make the story interesting, and they make the reader think, and that is exactly what a powerful book should do.
If Raskin's crazy ingenuity has threatened to run away with her on previous occasions, here the complicated game is always perfectly meshed with character and story. Confoundingly clever, and very funny.

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ellen Raskinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Durell, AnnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Summerer, Eric MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Awards and honors
for Jenny who asked for a puzzle-mystery and Susan K.
First words
The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!
Clues, they had to work on those clues. Behind closed doors. Whisper, someone may be listening.
Remember: It is not what you have, it's what you don't have that counts.
A dressmaker, a secretary, an inventor, a doctor, a judge. And, oh yes, one was a bookie, one was a burglar, one was a bomber, and one was a mistake.
Purple waves.
“Take stock in America, my heirs, and sing in praise of this generous land. You, too, may strike it rich who dares to play the Westing game.”
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Canonical DDC/MDS
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

The mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Sixteen people were invited to the reading of the very strange will of the very rich Samuel W. Westing. They could become millionaires, depending on how they played the game.

The not-quite-perfect heirs were paired, and each pair was given $ 10,000 and a set of clues (no two sets of clues were alike). All they had to do was find the answer, but the answer to what?

The Westing game was tricky and dangerous, but the heirs played on, through blizzards and burglaries and bombs bursting in air. And one of them won!

With her own special blend of intricacy, humor, and upside-down perceptions, Ellen Raskin has entangled a remarkable cast of characters in a puzzle-knotted, word-twisting plot. She then deftly unravels it again in a surprising (but fair) and highly satisfying ending.

Available online at The Internet Archive:
Haiku summary
Would you play a game

against a dead man for a

large inheritance?

Was Sam Westing killed

By one of his sixteen heirs

Looking for windfall?


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