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The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
What do you picture when you hear this: The Westing Game. Do you immediately think of the world’s greatest mystery book? I didn’t think so when I saw The Westing Game in my library, but it just goes to show that you have to think outside of the box.
As soon as I read the blurb hidden, like many modern blurbs, on the front flap of the book jacket, I thought, “This might be interesting.” I am very vain in the sense that I know I am not of average intelligence. In all books and movies, I can simply tell when, how, why, and what will happen. It’s so predictable and boring. Most mysteries are the same, but a few present a challenge to me.
That is the case with The Westing Game. For a few hours I had the rare pleasure of being completely and totally absorbed in this King of Mysteries.
The story beings with a mildly humorous paragraph, which is an excellent way to start any book in my opinion. In just one chapter I was already trying to come to conclusions for the many mysteries within the mystery, and the mystery hadn’t even been defined! I was baffled in more ways the one. How could one author make such a book? Who were these strange people, who was the mistake, who was the bomber, and who was the thief?
All throughout the story, I was riveted and gasping in shock. Sometimes I would shock myself by slapping my head and saying, “I’m so stupid!” when a surprising conclusion was made.
This book includes all of my favorite parts of the mystery genre: humor, surprise, obviousness, challenge, a touch of horror, suspense, outrageous fun, and of course mystery.
This mystery book is amazingly inventive, featuring sixteen people who are invited to be heirs to the mysterious, rich Sam W. Westing, who disappeared long ago and was recently said to have been found dead in his mansion.
His will starts with this: If I am found dead in bed…
…which is exactly how he was found.
The will also states that he did not die of natural causes. His life was taken from him by one of them. The way to win all of Westing’s money: find the name of who murdered Westing. Difficulty: extremely hard. Bribery is the way Westing keeps the players playing. Eight groups of two people each. Each group gets ten thousand dollars to be split in half. Both partners must sign the check to cash it in.
Through lies, bribery, spies, bombs, thieves, and more, the sixteen might-be-heirs fight for the answer to the mystery of all mysteries, The Westing Game.
What they don’t know is that they’re all being played by the very person they’re trying to avenge.