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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, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!
"Great fun for those who enjoy illusion, word play, or sleight of hand." —The New York Times Book Review
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - SUNSET TOWERS
Chapter 2 - GHOSTS OR WORSE
Chapter 3 - TENANTS IN AND OUT
Chapter 4 - THE CORPSE FOUND
Chapter 5 - SIXTEEN HEIRS
Chapter 6 - THE WESTING WILL
Chapter 7 - THE WESTING GAME
Chapter 8 - THE PAIRED HEIRS
Chapter 9 - LOST AND FOUND
Chapter 10 - THE LONG PARTY
Chapter 11 - THE MEETING
Chapter 12 - THE FIRST BOMB
Chapter 13 - THE SECOND BOMB
Chapter 14 - PAIRS REPAIRED
Chapter 15 - FACT AND GOSSIP
Chapter 16 - THE THIRD BOMB
Chapter 17 - SOME SOLUTIONS
Chapter 18 - THE TRACKERS
Chapter 19 - ODD RELATIVES
Chapter 20 - CONFESSIONS
Chapter 21 - THE FOURTH BOMB
Chapter 22 - LOSERS, WINNER
Chapter 23 - STRANGE ANSWERS
Chapter 24 - WRONG ALL WRONG
Chapter 25 - WESTING’S WAKE
Chapter 26 - TURTLE’S TRIAL
Chapter 27 - A HAPPY FOURTH
Chapter 28 - AND THEN . . .
Chapter 29 - FIVE YEARS PASS
Chapter 30 - THE END?
The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!
Sunset Towers faced east and had no towers. This glittery, glassy apartment house stood alone on the Lake Michigan shore five stories high. Five empty stories high.
Then one day (it happened to be the Fourth of July), a most uncommon-looking delivery boy rode around town slipping letters under the doors of the chosen tenants-to-be. The letters were signed Barney Northrup.
The delivery boy was sixty-two years old, and there was no such person as Barney Northrup. . . .
“In [The Westing Game] the author shows once more that no one can beat her at intrigue, at concocting marvelous absurdities.”
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First published in the United States of America by E. P. Dutton,
a division of Penguin Books USA, Inc., 1978
Published by Puffin Books, 1992
This edition published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2008
Copyright © Ellen Raskin, 1978
■ FOR JENNY who asked for a puzzle-mystery ■ AND SUSAN K.
Until 1970, Ellen Raskin was considered an illustrator, not an author, although she had written the texts of her notable picture books, such as Nothing Ever Happens on My Block; And It Rained; and Spectacles. And until 1969, I didn’t really know her, although when I was the children’s-book editor at Holt, Rinehart and Winston, she had illustrated Books: A Book to Begin On, by Susan Bartlett, and Come Along!, by Rebecca Caudill—as well as doing for us some of the one thousand book jackets of which she was so proud.
Our friendship really began in the smoking car (like the title character of Moe Q. McGlutch, Ellen smoked too much) of a Pennsylvania Railroad train en route from New York to Philadelphia, where we were both speaking on a panel. I stopped to say hello, and she said, “I’m sitting here alone because I’m so nervous. I hate speaking.” “I hate it, too,” I said, “and I’ve given up smoking.” In the depressed gloom that followed this exchange, the beginning of a bond was formed.
That same year I moved from Holt to E. P. Dutton. Their office was located at Union Square and Seventeenth Street, only a short walk from Ellen’s apartment on Eighth Street, and we got together more often. One day, Ellen confided that she had always wanted to adapt Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti, as a picture-book text. I thought of the lavishly rich visual details of the poem, and I longed to see how she would illustrate it. ”Would you do the book for me?” I asked. “Yes,” she answered. “Jean [Jean Karl, her editor at Atheneum] doesn’t want it.” Ellen was always candid. So she did do it—her first book for Dutton. One of her exquisitely intricate paintings for that book now hangs on my wall.
We often talked about our lives, and I particularly loved stories about her family and how she and her parents and sister drove around the country during the Great Depression so her father could look for work, an epic safari that took them from Milwaukee to California. “You should write a book about growing up in the Depression,” I told her.