Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The Westing Game readalong
From Goodreads:  "Sixteen people were invited to the reading of the very strange will of the very rich Samuel W. Westing. They could become millionaires, depending upon 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 set 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!"

This is my first time reading The Westing Game, I think this would have been another book that I would have enjoyed reading in middle school.  I grew up reading Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown and The Hardy Boys and later in high school moved on to Ian Fleming's series, but there is something about a really good middle grade puzzle murder mystery book that stands out to me.  The Westing Game is such a great example of this. 

The Westing Game was like playing a game of Clue trying to figure out who done it while filtering out all of these red herrings and trying to piece together how each of these heirs are connected to Samuel Westing.  I must admit, I did better with some then others. Placing the heirs into pairs made keeping track of them a little hard for me, there were a lot of Wexler's to keep straight, but I enjoyed that there was such a diverse set of characters too. "One tenant was a bookie, one was a burglar, one was a bomber, and one was a mistake."  Figuring out who was who, was half the fun.  I really should have taken better notes or enlisted Sydelle to let me borrow hers. I loved the humor in the typed index cards and notes that were left in the elevator or on the bulletin board and the many character descriptions that came later in the story as the Judge was gathering backgrounds on the heirs. 

 I absolutely adored Turtle, she was my favorite character.  With her braided hair, slumping and kicking people in the shins and hating "dumb grown up parties" (which I so could relate to as a kid), what's not to love? Turtle wasn't afraid to speak her mind but at the same time she was so loyal to her sister and you could feel her love for "Baba".  My heart ached for her at the end of the book, yep I shed a few tears.  Yet, I loved how Raskin wrapped things up by giving updates on how each heir fared after the game was over, a very satisfying ending.  

You can follow along or join in on the discussion at and #tmgreadalong.  


  1. I read this years ( years and years!) ago and now am thinking I must read it again. A classic!

    1. It was a first read for me, but I can see myself re-reading it in the future to figure out the clues I missed.

  2. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I read it aloud to my fifth graders every year. It was our first read aloud. They would all take notes and try to figure it all out, but no one ever did. It is the perfect mystery.

    1. This seems like it would be a fun read aloud and the mystery is perfect for this age.