The Westing Game is Raskin's closest approach to a classic mystery story. Sixteen interesting and bizarre characters, who live in a mysterious apartment building, compete to become heir to the Westing millions. Inspired by the intrigue surrounding Howard Hughes's will and by the celebration of the bicentennial of the United States, the novel combines a tricky mystery with a tribute to American opportunity. Like Figgs & Phantoms and The Tattooed Potato & Other Clues, The Westing Game incorporates some of Raskin's special interests. Would-be heirs play both chess and the stock market in their attempts to solve the puzzle and gain a fortune.
In addition to being a satisfying mystery, The Westing Game is Raskin's exploration of material success and the importance of money. While Sam Westing and his wife achieved the good life, they sacrificed their daughter along the way. Raskin explores their life in light of the need for love, the challenge of American business, and the possibility of getting a second chance in life. She examines the degree to which family members can influence children and the need for young people to determine their own destinies.
Raskin's humor celebrates the variety and richness of the human experience and wittily assesses its shortcomings. She is especially sensitive to the plight of characters who, while they are part of American society, are perceived as different from other...
(The entire section is 323 words.)
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Chapters 1-3 Summary
On the Fourth of July, a sixty-two-year-old delivery boy distributes six letters to a group of hand-picked “tenants-to-be” at Sunset Towers, an empty, five-story, “glittery” apartment house on the shore of Lake Michigan. The letters are signed by Barney Northrup; in reality, there is no such person by that name.
The Wexlers are the first to respond to their invitation. Grace Wexler is enchanted by the floor-to-ceiling glass in the living room and the lush carpeting throughout. She looks forward to showing off the new apartment to her “so-called friends...with their classy houses.” Her unimpressed husband, Jake, says the third bedroom is the size of a closet, but Grace thinks it will do “just fine” for their younger daughter, Turtle.
The slick, buck-toothed salesman who masquerades as Barney Northrup manages to rent all the apartments in just one day. In addition to the Wexlers, the tenants include the Theodorakis and Hoo families, Flora Baumbach, Sydelle Pulaski, and Judge J. J. Ford. Dr. Wexler will have his office on the first floor, alongside a coffee shop run by the Theodorakises. Mr. James Shin Hoo will open a restaurant on the fifth floor.
In early September, the residents of Sunset Towers move in. A few weeks later, on Halloween, Otis Amber, the sixty-two-year-old delivery boy, meets a group that includes two high school seniors, Theo Theodorakis, Doug Hoo, and the apartment doorman, Sandy McSouthers. He points out that smoke is coming from the chimney of the nearby, supposedly unoccupied Westing mansion. Sam Westing, who owns the mansion, the apartment building, and the town’s paper mill, has not been seen for years, and rumor has it that his dead body is rotting away in the old house. Sandy feels bitter about having been fired from his job at the mill and says this “serves [Westing] right.” As the group standing on the driveway discusses the situation, junior-high student Turtle Wexler comes riding up on her bike. Turtle is known for her thick braid and her propensity for kicking in the shins anyone who touches it.
Otis and Sandy state that exactly one year ago, two teenagers tried to stay in the Westing mansion on Halloween on a bet, but they quickly came “tearing out like they were being chased by a ghost...or worse.” One of them could only repeat the words “purple waves” and ended up in an asylum. Turtle is always up for a challenge, so she volunteers to...
(The entire section is 816 words.)
Chapters 4-5 Summary
Under a full Halloween moon, Turtle, dressed in her witch costume, tentatively explores the blackness within the Westing mansion. According to Doug Hoo’s stopwatch, she lasts for eleven minutes before she exits the house, screaming. Summoned by a “throbbing whisper, ‘pur-ple...pur-ple,’” Turtle found the corpse of Samuel Westing lying in a four-poster bed on the second floor.
The next morning, Turtle sees a picture of the dead man on the front page of the newspaper under the headline “Sam Westing Found Dead.” Westing’s estate is estimated to be worth “over two hundred million dollars.” He is described as a “dedicated gamesman” who often played the part of Uncle Sam at the annual pageants he staged on the Fourth of July and who had a keen interest in fireworks, which he stored in his mansion and set off every year on his front lawn. The article goes on to describe the tragedies that marred Westing’s life. He was divorced from his wife, and his only daughter, Violet, drowned on the eve of her wedding. As a businessman, Westing was sued by a fellow inventor “over rights to the disposable paper diaper.” Sam Westing had not been seen in recent times. After being severely injured and reportedly disfigured in an automobile accident several years previously with his friend, Doctor Sidney Sikes, Sam Westing had “disappeared from sight.” It was rumored that he continued to control the vast Westing Corporation from a small island in the South Seas. Julian Eastman, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, expressed surprise and sadness upon learning of his death.
There is no mention of how or by whom the body was found. Only four people know Turtle had been in the house—Doug Hoo, Theo Theodorakis, Otis Amber, and Sandy McSouthers. The next day, Otis Amber delivers letters to sixteen residents of Sunset Towers, telling them they have been named beneficiaries of Sam Westing’s estate and summoning them to a reading of the will.
The body of Sam Westing lies in an open coffin in the library of the Westing house, where the will is to be read. Westing is dressed as the patriotic Uncle Sam; in his hands is Grace Wexler’s silver cross, which Turtle had been carrying and had dropped during her precipitous flight from the mansion the night before. The cleaning woman, Crow, is dressed in black as usual. She opens the door for Grace, Angela, and Turtle, who are the first to arrive; Jake Wexler...
(The entire section is 719 words.)
Chapters 6-7 Summary
Attorney E. J. Plum has never actually met Samuel Westing, but he testifies as to the legality of the will, which has been signed by the deceased and two witnesses—Julian R. Eastman, President of the Westing Corporation, and Doctor Sidney Sikes, the county coroner. In the document, Westing names the sixteen heirs present as his “nieces and nephews” and says that tomorrow his ashes “will be scattered to the four winds.” He then asserts that his life has been taken by one of his heirs, and he promises that the heir who finds something will receive the inheritance. What the players are supposed to find is never stated because, to lighten the mood at that point, Sandy shouts out facetiously, “Ashes!” Attorney Plum does not go back to clarify what, exactly, the winner will need to find.
The next point, which has a patriotic flavor, reads:
Hail to thee, O land of opportunity! You have made me, the son of poor immigrants, rich, powerful, and respected....Take stock in America...and sing in praise of this generous land. You, too, may strike it rich who dares to play the Westing game.
The heirs are then asked to say a silent prayer for “good old Uncle Sam” and are directed into the adjoining game room.
Upon entering the game room, Theo Theodorakis’s attention is drawn to a finely carved chess set laid out on a table. Noticing that someone has moved a white pawn, he idly makes a defensive move with a black knight. E. J. Plum then calls everyone to attention, and he begins to read the next section of Samuel Westing’s will.
The rules of the Westing game are simple. The sixteen players will be divided into eight teams; each pair will receive ten thousand dollars and a set of clues. Absent pairs will forfeit their money, and if one member of a team drops out, his or her partner must leave as well. The object of the game is “to win.”
Jake Wexler and Mrs. Hoo are immediately disqualified as the first team because neither of them are present. Turtle Wexler and Flora Baumbach form the second team, while Chris Theodorakis is paired off with Dr. Denton Deere. Sandy McSouthers is partnered with Judge J. J. Ford, and Grace Windsor Wexler and James Shin Hoo make up the fifth team. Grace Wexler, ever opportunistic, is excited at the prospect of having access to her own clues as well as those of Angela, Turtle, Denton, and Mr. Hoo’s...
(The entire section is 820 words.)
Chapters 8-9 Summary
A blizzard strikes that night, leaving the residents of Sunset Towers “snowbound—with a murderer.” The electricity is out, and Turtle takes advantage of the situation by selling homemade, gaily striped candles left over from summer camp; the candles tell time: each stripe burns for half an hour. Sydelle Pulaski receives numerous invitations to coffee and afternoon tea from players hoping she will share her shorthand copy of the will with them. None of them get what they are seeking.
Sydelle takes Angela over to visit Chris Theodorakis, who is looking in a book at a picture of various grains and is delighted with the company. The boy sees that Sydelle limps, but he recognizes her disability as a pretend limp; she is not the person he saw entering the Westing mansion. Chris pictures his clues in his mind: “FOR - PLAIN - GRAIN - SHED.” He wonders if “grain,” which might refer to “oats,” might point to Otis Amber and if “for” plus the d from “shed” might indicate J. J. Ford.
“SEA - MOUNTAIN - AM - O” are the clues that belong to Turtle and Flora Baumbach. Turtle thinks they stand for the names of corporations on the stock market and convinces Flora that Sam Westing would want them to use their money to invest.
Grace Wexler’s and Mr. Hoo’s clues read “FRUITED - PURPLE - WAVES - FOR - SEA.” Grace entertains the idea that “for” and “sea” are actually 4C, the number of the Hoos’s apartment. Mr. Hoo feels insulted at her suggestion that he might be the murderer and leaves in a huff. Grace Windsor Wexler, also known as Gracie Windklopper Wexler, vows not to endorse their $10,000 check.
Doug Hoo and Theo Theodorakis are stumped on their clues, “HIS - N - ON - TO - THEE - FOR,” and Theo suggests that perhaps everyone’s clues should be put together to make a meaningful message.
As Judge J. J. Ford ruminates on the clues she shares with the doorman, “SKIES - AM - SHINING - BROTHER,” she considers that Sam Westing “was not the type to let himself get killed.” She comes to the conclusion that the crafty businessman has concocted this game to exact revenge on one of the heirs who is, for some reason, an enemy. Resolving to identify and save the hypothetical victim, she calls the newspaper to find out if there might be any information in the archives about the players and their relationship to Sam Westing.
(The entire section is 808 words.)
Chapters 10-12 Summary
Jake and Grace Wexler are the first to arrive at J. J. Ford’s party. The judge asks Mrs. Wexler how she is related to the Westing family and decides that the woman is nothing more than a “prattling pretender” when her answer is confused and evasive. Other guests come in, and Jake goes over to talk to his daughter, Angela. The young girl cringes when he immediately asks about Denton Deere; it seems that, in the eyes of others, she has no identity apart from her fiancé.
The only people at the party who are not Westing heirs are George and Catherine Theodorakis, the parents of Theo and Chris. Theo in particular bears a startling resemblance to his father; they are both wide shouldered and slim waisted and they have the same thick, black hair. As Judge Ford circulates among the guests, James Hoo begins arguing with his son, Doug, about the boy’s preoccupation with running. Grace Wexler criticizes Angela’s hair and tells her that she has made catering arrangements with Mrs. Hoo for her wedding shower Saturday. Close to tears because of her powerlessness in the face of her mother’s controlling nature, Angela retreats to the kitchen, where she runs into Crow. The dour woman is deeply sympathetic to Angela’s situation but cannot show it; deftly hiding her feelings, she wordlessly hands the unhappy girl a dishtowel so she can muffle her sobs and wipe away her tears.
The party is a gloomy affair, with players focused on surreptitiously getting information on the clues of others. Everyone goes home disappointed.
On the third snowbound day, Theo Theodorakis and Doug Hoo organize a meeting of the heirs at the coffee shop. Turtle awakens in her tiny room that morning to find that she is alone; no one is there to help her braid her hair. Furious, Turtle goes to her partner’s apartment, brush and comb in hand; to her surprise, she finds that Flora Baumbach makes excellent braids. The unhappy child tells Flora that her real name is Alice and that her mother does not think she is pretty. Flora gently responds that “all mothers think their children are beautiful.” She adds wistfully that she once had a child named Rosalie, who was “exceptional...the lovingest person that ever was.”
At the meeting, Theo suggests to the group that if they put their clues together, they will have a better chance of winning the inheritance, which could then be divided among everyone in equal shares. Sydelle...
(The entire section is 798 words.)
Chapters 13-14 Summary
While repairs are being made at the coffee shop, the snowbound residents of Sunset Towers eat their dinners at Shin Hoo’s Restaurant. Unbeknownst to them, the bomber has planted a second bomb in the kitchen of the fifth-floor establishment and set it to go off at six-thirty. Grace Wexler has signed on as the seating hostess to help out her partner, whom she addresses with inappropriate familiarity as Jimmy. Pleased with her new position of power, she decides to have fun pairing off the diners in unexpected ways, which results in a number of interesting interactions.
Theo Theodorakis finds himself seated at a table with the beautiful Angela Wexler; the two manage to overcome their initial shyness and end up sharing with each other their hopes and dreams. Theo wants to be a writer but plans to go to work when he graduates high school to help pay for his brother’s medical expenses; Angela’s secret aspiration is to be a doctor, but her mother has other plans for her. Josie-Jo Ford is paired with Flora Baumbach, who used to make a living sewing bridal gowns. Flora tells the judge that Angela Wexler reminds her of another young lady for whom she once made a wedding dress—Violet Westing.
Sydelle Pulaski is seated with Chris Theodorakis, and the two engage in light-hearted banter, but when Chris asks the secretary to read her notes to him, she demurs. Sydelle leaves the table to “give her compliments to the chef” for the lovely meal and reaches the kitchen just when the second bomb goes off. Sydelle falls and breaks her ankle; Angela accompanies her to the hospital in an ambulance. The fire inspector concludes that the blast was a gas explosion caused by lack of proper ventilation. As a result, Grace leaves the windows of the Wexler apartment open for the next three days despite the freezing cold. She is determined to not have “anything blowing up” during Angela’s party, but that is exactly when the bomber plans to strike next.
The sun comes out and snowplows arrive, finally freeing the residents from their “wintry prison.” Turtle and Flora Baumbach go down to the stock exchange, where Turtle teaches her partner to play the market. Sandy McSouthers gratefully cleans up Judge Ford’s Mercedes; knowing that Sandy and his family are going through hard times, Josie-Jo has kindly signed over the entire ten thousand dollars of their team’s money to him. Sandy has had a variety of odd jobs since he...
(The entire section is 851 words.)
Chapters 15-17 Summary
By Friday of that week, the snow begins to melt at last. Sandy, Doug, Theo, Turtle, and Otis Amber stand in the driveway again, discussing the Westing game. Otis believes there is no murderer, but Theo is not so sure. At the Wexler apartment, Grace is never home, so Jake goes to visit her at Shin Hoo’s Restaurant. After ignoring her husband at first, Grace finally comes over only to discuss an idea she has; she thinks the restaurant needs a more interesting name. She suggests Hoo’s on First. James Hoo thinks the name is “idiotic,” and Jake privately agrees with him, but to placate his wife he says it is “a dandy name.”
J. J. Ford shares with Sandy some information she has secured about Sam Westing’s ex-wife. The former Mrs. Westing is reputed to have been slim and nervous, and the available newspaper photographs of her are blurred. Sandy, who had actually seen the woman a couple of times, describes her as “blond, full-lipped,” with a mole on her cheek. In contrast, Josie-Jo has a vague recollection of a thin-lipped, copper-haired woman, but she does not trust her memory. Judge Ford has found a photograph of the Westings’ daughter, Violet, in an archived society page clipping. The judge examines it closely and notes that Violet does indeed resemble Angela Wexler, just as Flora Baumbach had observed. She is astonished to see that, in the picture, Violet is dancing with George Theodorakis. Sandy says it was “common gossip” at the time that Violet Westing was in love with George and had killed herself rather than marry the “crooked politician” chosen for her by her mother. One generation later, the potential parallels are uncanny—Theo Theodorakis even looks a little like his father—but as Sandy confidently asserts, Angela and Theo are not involved with each other in any way.
Most of the guests at Angela’s shower are friends of her mother. As the bride-to-be slowly opens her gifts, Turtle becomes impatient and kneels next to her, trying to peek into the tall, thin box she is unwrapping. Angela, with shaking hands, jerks the gift away from her sister, and the package explodes, sending colorful fireballs flying. When it is over, Angela’s hands are burned and there is an “angry gash” on her beautiful face. After she is taken to the hospital, the remaining players gather in the lobby. No one knows whom they can trust; in their minds, the only two who are above suspicion are Chris Theodorakis...
(The entire section is 824 words.)
Chapters 18-20 Summary
Flora Baumbach, now affectionately called Baba, fixes Turtle’s braid every day and gives her the love and attention she craves. Flora calls Turtle by her chosen name, Alice, and talks about her own daughter, Rosalie, whose untimely passing has clearly left an aching void in her life.
Sandy McSouthers and Josie-Jo Ford continue to compile information about each of the heirs in a notebook. They know that Flora Baumbach had a mentally challenged daughter who died tragically. She had also made a wedding gown for Violet Westing, although the bride-to-be never got to wear it. Sandy and J. J. have little information connecting Otis Amber and Denton Deere to Sam Westing other than that Otis is the delivery boy for Westing’s attorney, E. J. Plum, and that Doctor Deere is engaged to Angela Wexler, who resembles Violet Westing. Sydelle Pulaski is a secretary who had lived a barren life with her mother and two aunts before moving to Sunset Towers; Sandy and the judge can find no connection at all between her and Sam Westing.
Theo Theodorakis finds his partner, Doug Hoo, the next day and tells him that their clues point to Otis Amber and the chemical formula for ammonium nitrate, an explosive. Doug is preoccupied with his running and is not really interested, but Theo convinces him that he has to do his share in solving the mystery. Theo solicits his aid in following Otis to learn more about him. Doug jogs discretely after Otis as he delivers messages to the players from E. J. Plum, instructing them to meet again at the Westing mansion on Saturday night.
Even though Chris Theodorakis is more interested in his partner’s companionship than his medical expertise, Denton Deere arranges for him to see a neurologist who might be able to help him with a new medicine. Chris realizes that Doctor Deere is truly interested in his welfare, Chris tells him he will sign the ten-thousand-dollar check they share.
Crow’s profile in J. J. and Sandy’s notebook is interesting, but her connection to Sam Westing is elusive. Berthe Erica Crow was married at the age of sixteen to a man named Windy Windkloppel; they divorced twenty-four years later. Crow became an alcoholic, then she quit drinking and took up religion. She has founded a skid row soup kitchen and works as a cleaning woman at Sunset Towers.
Crow’s partner, Otis Amber, believes that James Shin Hoo is the bomber, and Crow is consumed with hatred...
(The entire section is 861 words.)
Chapters 21-22 Summary
Sandy McSouthers and J. J. Ford have only themselves left to investigate, and they do so cursorily. Sandy has a large family, but Sam Westing fired him from his job at the mill with no pension. Josie-Jo Ford’s parents were servants at the Westing mansion, and J. J. was not allowed to associate with the Westings’s daughter, Violet. Instead, Sam Westing sent her away to all the best schools. J. J remembers playing chess with Westing; he always won, and he used the unusual strategy of sacrificing his queen to distract his opponent from his true intent.
Theo has figured out that Angela is the bomber, and Turtle is concerned. To save Angela from being identified and punished, Turtle writes a note implicating herself and sets off a fourth bomb in the elevator. As a result of a slight miscalculation, when the blast goes off, Turtle’s precious braid is badly singed.
The bomb squad takes Turtle straight to Judge J. J. Ford. The judge perceives that the child is trying to protect someone and is astounded when she realizes that the real bomber is Angela. When she thinks about the beautiful young girl whose life is completely controlled by others, however, things begin to make sense—the bombings are a cry for help from an otherwise inarticulate victim. While she is confessing, Turtle tells Judge Ford that she had been at the Westing mansion on the night of Sam Westing’s alleged death. She describes the voice that beckoned to her and says that “Mr. Westing didn’t look murdered.” He resembled a wax dummy more than a corpse. J. J. is excited by this observation. After extracting from Turtle a promise that she will never play with fireworks again, J. J. sends her home to Baba. Turtle’s tooth is aching. As she leaves the judge’s apartment, she runs into the only other person she cares about at Sunset Towers—Sandy. The doorman tells her that his wife is having a birthday tomorrow and also makes arrangements for Turtle to visit his personal dentist.
Meanwhile, Angela and Sydelle have managed to compile quite a large list of clues—their own along with those of others. Angela receives a note from Denton Deere, who has recognized her unhappiness and suggests that they postpone their wedding indefinitely to allow themselves time to “think things over.” As a parting gift, he gives her the clue “PLAIN.” It is all that Sydelle needs to figure out at last that the clues put together make up the words to the...
(The entire section is 812 words.)
Chapters 23-24 Summary
Flora Baumbach and Turtle, sporting a new haircut, wait for the other players to arrive in the game room of the Westing mansion. Flora shows Turtle a picture of her daughter, Rosalie. Turtle is surprised to discover that the child Baba always speaks about so lovingly was severely afflicted with Downs’ Syndrome. Amazed at the depth of feeling Flora clearly has for her daughter, Turtle observes genuinely, “I think I would have liked her, Baba.”
Many of the players comment on Turtle’s hair as they enter, but Theo goes straight to the chessboard. He sees that someone has moved a piece since they were here last, and he makes a countermove. Grace Wexler is uncharacteristically mellow—and very tipsy; she has spent the day reminiscing with her husband about good times, over wine.
Each team is presented with an envelope containing another ten thousand dollars; Judge Ford immediately turns hers over to Sandy, to help him provide for his family until he finds another job. When everyone is present, E. J. Plum continues reading the instructions for the Westing game, which now requires each team to present an answer in light of their clues.
Jake Wexler has no idea what the required answer is, and leaves it up to his partner, Madame Hoo, to respond; the Chinese lady utters one of the few English words she knows: “Boom!” Flora Baumbach and Turtle produce the cash they made by investing their game money in the stock market—their answer is the total, $11,587.50. Denton Deere has not spent much time thinking about the game, and his partner, Chris Theodorakis, does not want to accuse anyone of being the murderer. As their answer, Chris offers the observation that Mr. Westing was a “good man” who gave everyone perfect partners according to their needs.
In keeping with their decision to protect the expected victim of Sam Westing’s elaborate game, J. J. Ford and Sandy give no answer at all. Grace Wexler speaks for herself and her partner, James Hoo, naming E. J. Plum, the “purple fruit,” as the murderer. Crow cryptically utters the word “mother” as her and Otis Amber’s response.
Doug Hoo had never cared about the game one way or the other, and after seeing Otis Amber at work at the Soup Kitchen, Theo does not have the heart to name him as the murderer; their team too gives no answer. At the last table, Sydelle is confident that she and Angela are about to win. The secretary gets...
(The entire section is 861 words.)
Chapters 25-26 Summary
Crow has been arrested. In the wake of the extraordinary events that have occurred, the remaining players sit in stunned disbelief. Turtle laments Sandy’s death, and Denton Deere, who had noticed a mean bruise on the stricken man’s shin, remarks that she should not have kicked him. Turtle denies having done so, insisting that the only person she has kicked recently was Barney Northrup. Doug Hoo observes that Sandy McSouthers was the mysterious individual playing chess with Theo, who in turn notes that the former doorman’s last move had been a foolish one and resulted in the loss of his queen.
As Judge Ford remembers that the “queen’s sacrifice” was a deception Sam Westing liked to use to defeat her when she had played against him as a child, Turtle thinks about the crooked false teeth at Sandy’s dentist and his surreptitious wink before he died. When Judge Ford reveals the relationship between Westing and Crow and the tragic story of their daughter, Violet, Otis Amber comments that it is Crow’s birthday. Turtle recalls that Sandy had said that today was his wife's birthday and is seized by a sudden realization; she asks to see Angela’s copy of the will. Along with J. J. Ford, Turtle is beginning to understand that Sam Westing has sacrificed his queen, Crow, as a diversion—the game has not yet been won!
In a final, gutsy move to determine the truth, Turtle stages a mock trial. Her first witness is Chris Theodorakis, who asserts that the person with the distinctive limp whom he had seen entering the Westing mansion on Halloween had been Doctor Sikes, Sam Westing’s friend.
Otis Amber is called up next and reveals to everyone’s surprise that he is a licensed private investigator. Otis had been assigned by Sam Westing many years ago to find his former wife, Crow, and to watch over her. By the time his services were no longer needed, Otis had developed a deep friendship with the woman and decided to stick with her. More recently, Barney Northrup had contracted Otis to investigate J. J. Ford, George Theodorakis, James Hoo, Gracie Windkloppel, Flora Baumbach, and Sybil Pulaski; instead of Sybil, Otis had targeted Sydelle Pulaski by mistake. Ironically, J. J. Ford had then hired Otis to get information on all the heirs. Otis had investigated everyone for her except the judge herself and her partner, Sandy, making the doorman the only individual never examined for any of his employers. Sandy who...
(The entire section is 846 words.)
Chapters 27-30 Summary
Crow is released from custody. In the final page of the will, Sam Westing admits to having been “otherwise known as Sandy McSouthers and others.” He leaves the title to Sunset Towers to all of his heirs to share among themselves, and he leaves three ten-thousand-dollar checks in game money to his former wife, Berthe Erica Crow. No mention is made of the promised two hundred million dollars. When some of the players grumble about this, J. J. Ford succintly explains, “We lost the game.” Outside, a fantastic “fireworks extravaganza” begins, and when it is over, the infamous Westing house burns to the ground.
In the morning, Turtle sets out secretly to collect her prize. She goes to meet the “newly-elected chairman of the board” of the Westing Corporation—Sam Westing’s final alter-ego, Julian Eastman. The “four winds” of Windy Windkloppel are Sam Westing, Barney Northrup, Sandy McSouthers, and Julian Eastman. When Turtle sees Mr. Eastman, she says tentatively, “Hi, Sandy...I won.”
Turtle goes to visit Sandy, as she continues to call him, every Saturday to play chess, and she never gives away his secret. In the aftermath of the Westing game, Otis Amber and Crow get married. J. J. Ford, who accepts that she will never completely solve the “Westing puzzle,” uses the money from the sale of her share of Sunset Towers to pay for the education of Chris Theodorakis, whose physical condition is much improved thanks to the experimental medication he has received through his partner, Denton Deere. Theo, too, goes away to college. James Hoo starts a successful business selling his paper innersole in drugstores and shoe shops. His wife, “Sunny” Hoo, assists him and no longer yearns to return to China. Sydelle Pulaski returns to her old job and receives plenty of attention because she is now an heiress. Jake Wexler quits his private practice as a podiatrist and becomes a government official, “thanks to a recommendation by Judge Ford.” Grace Wexler is proud of her husband and is herself the new owner of a chain of Chinese restaurants modeled after Hoo's On First. Angela calls off her wedding to Denton Deere and enrolls in college to pursue her dream of going to medical school.
Five years later, Doug Hoo wins a gold medal at the Olympics, and the Westing heirs gather at the Hoos’s “new lakefront home” to celebrate. Otis and Crow, who continue to work...
(The entire section is 854 words.)