16 heirs come together in a game of cat and mouse that will reveal a murderer and award the winner with a $200 million dollar inheritance. Or so everyone thinks. Conveniently brought together in a new apartment complex, Sunset Towers, across the way from the abandoned Westing estate, the 16 heirs are called to the reading of the will for the recently deceased Samuel Westing. Each of the heirs has a connection to the Westing family, and according to the will, one of those heirs murdered Samuel Westing. Or did they? That’s is the task put to the heirs. In order to get the inheritance they must figure out who murdered Samuel Westing. The heir are divided into pairs and each pair is given a set of clues to figure out the murderer.
As the pairs progress with their clues, the reader gets to find out more about each character and their possible connection to Samuel Westing. Raskin does an amazing job of fleshing out each character, giving them depth and personality. Turtle Wexler really stands out in my mind as the precocious and aggressive 13 year old girl who just wants to be noticed and taken seriously. This clever teenager plays a huge role in the final mystery solving and reminded me a bit of Harriet the Spy mixed with Nancy Drew. Turtle can hold her own.
The whole novel was an homage to the locked room mysteries of Agatha Christie. The plot is threaded with subtle clues and red herrings that the reader has to keep track of. The pace of the plot keeps you on your toes and guessing until the end. According to the little introduction in the front of the book, Raskin wrote this novel off the cuff and added on clues as she wrote, which, considering the complexity of the mystery, is pretty darn amazing. I can see why this novel won the Newberry Medal. The plotting is ingenious and the characters unforgettable. The Westing Game is a twisty puzzle of a mystery.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!