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Book Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - A Newbery Medal Children’s Mystery Book
At a young age, I knew what my favorite types of books were - mystery books! From Nancy Drew to Sherlock Holmes, I was constantly reading mystery books. Throughout my schooling, I’d always choose mystery books for reports and projects and to this day, I still prefer mystery books or thrillers for pleasure reading.That being said, I’ve read plenty of children’s mystery books throughout my life.
This article is an ode to my favorite book of all time- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. In my opinion, it is by far, one of the best children’s mystery books of all time! And, it's not just for kids - adults will love this book, too!
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The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
I love this book. I read it back in the fifth grade, about 13 years ago now, yet it is a book that I can read again and again and never get tired of (rare for me, as I usually only read books once). You will have to decide whether or not it is suitable for your child as there is an alleged murder in the book so it may be a bit alarming for some children. I remember being a bit surprised the first time I read it at age 10, as up until that point, I hadn’t read a book that talked about murder. But, there weren’t any gory details (and again, I said alleged murder). So, perhaps this book is more suitable for children in higher grades. Either way, adults and children alike will love this classic mystery! It has won a Newbury Medal and was originally published in 1978, so you may have already heard about it.
The main character, a young girl named Turtle Wexler, moves into an upscale condominium complex, Sunset Towers, with her family. The cause of what prompted her family to move there was unusual and it turns out that all of the families and residents of the complex were hand picked by someone in particular to reside there for reasons unbeknownst to them (and the reader).
While all the new residents are getting settled into their new lives at Sunset Towers, a wealthy business mogul, Sam Westing dies in his sleep at his mansion, which just so happens to be right next door to Sunset Towers.
As his will is being read, everyone in the room is completely shocked about three things. First, everyone in the room lives at Sunset Towers - they are all potential Westing heirs (very few of them know each other). Secondly, Sam Westing makes a very serious accusation - one of the people in the room murdered him. Lastly, they find out that the only way for them to inherit the $2,000,000 is to play a game, The Westing Game, to be more exact.
The 16 residents are put into pre-determined pairs and are given very obscure clues that turn out to be quite patriotic. The partners work together, snoop on others, and find out all sorts of juicy secrets about each of the heirs/players. Lots of red herrings and cryptic clues make this book a very fun read for even the most sophisticated mystery reader.
Have You Ever Read The Westing Game By Ellen Raskin?
Children (and adults) will love all 16 of the interesting characters that are developed with great detail throughout this children‘s mystery book. There is a wide array of characters: a judge, a restaurant owner, an athlete, a socialite, a bird watcher, a cleaning lady, a delivery man, a dressmaker and of course Turtle - a 13 year old precocious girl. Is one of them not who they claim to be? Did one murder Sam Westing? Who will win The Westing Game and inherit the $2,000,000?
You’ll have to read the book and follow the clues to find out who the winner is and discover the answers to the more pressing issues - if Sam Westing was murdered (the doctors claimed his death was due to natural causes), who killed him out of this group of seemingly innocent people that all reside at Sunset Towers? How are they all related in some way, shape or form to the late Sam Westing?
I hope you’ve enjoyed the review of one of the best children’s mystery books of all time - The Westing Game. And, remember - it’s not just for kids! Any mystery fan is sure to love the surprises and twists and turns of this book.