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In Ellen Raskin's mystery novel The Westing Game, the story's principle protagonist pretends to be four different characters, the name of each denoting a point on a compass. The first such character, introduced immediately at the beginning of Raskin's story, is Barney Northrup, who, the narrative points out, does not actually exist. Barney Northrup is a figure conjured up by Sam Westing (or whatever his actual name is) who poses as a real estate salesman in a ruse to entice potential heirs to the wealthy, presumably recently-departed Westing to a common meeting place. Barney is presented as an eccentric figure, enthusiastically pointing out the attributes of the vacant apartment used as part of the ruse:
“See those chandeliers? Crystal!” Barney Northrup said, slicking his black moustache and straightening his handpainted tie in the lobby’s mirrored wall. “How about this carpeting? Three inches thick!”
The next character is Alexander "Sandy" McSouthers (note the directional orientation of these names: Westing, McSouthers, Northrup), "[t]he stocky, broad-shouldered man in the doorman’s uniform, standing with feet spread, fists on hips." Again, Westing has enticed his potential heirs to this apartment building, the invitations to visit having been delivered by Westing in his Northup persona. As the visitors arrive, they are greeted by the wealthy patriarch in his persona as Sandy McSouthers, the building's doorman.
Next up is Julian Eastman, ostensibly President and Chief Executive Officer of the Westing Paper Products Corporation, the corporation founded by "the late" Sam Westing, and the source of considerable wealth. Eastman's role is particularly interesting, as Westing's lawyer, whom he never met, is Edgar Jennings Plum, who claims to have a document cosigned by Westing and Eastman, as in the following passage from Chapter Six:
“Let me assure you that I have examined the documents at hand as thoroughly as possible in the short time available. I have verified the signatures to be those of Samuel W. Westing and his two witnesses: Julian R. Eastman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Westing Paper Products Corporation, and Sidney Sikes, M.D., Coroner of Westing County."
It is some time before any of the assembled potential heirs is able to meet Eastman face-to-face, but when one, Turtle, does, she is greeted by a more somber individual than she expected, but one who greets her cordially:
"Julian R. Eastman rose. He looked stern. And very proper. He wore a gray business suit with a vest, a striped tie. His shoes were shined. He limped as he walked toward her . . . just a small limp, a painful limp. . . His watery blue eyes stared at her over his rimless half-glasses. Hard eyes. His teeth were white, not quite even (no one would ever guess they were false). He was smiling. He wasn’t angry with her, he was smiling."
Finally, there is Windy Windkloppel, the ex-husband of Berthe Erica Crow, a recovering alcoholic who has turned to religion and charitable activities. Windy is mentioned as the birth name of Sam Westing, who changed his name for business purposes ("After all, who would buy a product called Windkloppel’s Toilet Tissues?"), but the true identity of the wealthy departed(?) figure remains something of a mystery, as he apparently did die, but only after his potential heirs had all believed he had died. In the end, as Turtle observes, "Julian R. Eastman was dead; and with him died Windy Windkloppel, Samuel W. Westing, Barney Northrup, and Sandy McSouthers."
These are the collected personalities portrayed by the deceased in Raskin's complicated mystery.
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