The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin
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Chapters 13-14 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 851

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.

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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.

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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 was fired from the Westing plant; he was even a boxer for a while, and his features are misshapen and scarred from that period in his life. Judge Ford tells her partner about Theo’s proposal to join all the players’ clues together to solve the mystery, but Sandy wants them to “stick it out together, just the two of [them].” Sandy wonders why he has been included among the heirs; he thinks perhaps there really is no murderer and that Westing concocted the game to get even with someone. The judge concurs, and the two resolve to find out more about the sixteen players so they can protect the one Westing was “out to get.”

James Hoo wants to use his share of his team’s ten thousand dollars for expenses, but Grace Wexler has specific ideas about how the money should be used for his business and refuses to sign over the check. Denton Deere also wants his half of his team’s money, but Chris Theodorakis will not sign either. Chris loves having company, and as long as he does not endorse the check, his partner will keep coming to visit him. In the lobby of Sunset Towers, Theo runs into Angela, who is waiting for her fiancé to take her to the hospital to see Sydelle. Theo has realized that a line from the Westing will, “May God thy gold refine,” is from the song “America the Beautiful”; he is singing the verse for Angela when Dr. Deere arrives. As the doctor and his fiancée leave the building, Sandy the doorman picks up the tune, whistling the song deftly through his chipped front tooth.

At the hospital, Denton Deere becomes concerned about his betrothed’s preoccupied air and asks her if she still wants to get married. Angela does not want to hurt either the doctor or her mother, so she does not answer. A psychiatrist comes out of Sydelle’s room and confirms that the “crippling disease” that requires the secretary to use a crutch is a sham, but Angela sensitively allows Sydelle to persist in her harmless deception when she goes in to see her. When Angela reaches into her purse to give Sydelle some makeup, she finds a letter written in Crow’s “tense and rigid hand.” The letter says:

Forgive me, my daughter. God bless you my child. Delight in your love and the devil take doctor dear. Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? The time draws near.

Two clues are taped to the letter: “THY - BEAUTIFUL.”

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Chapters 15-17 Summary