The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin
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Chapters 15-17 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 824

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.”

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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 and the latest victim, Angela Wexler.

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Angela is given a room at the hospital with Sydelle Pulaski. Turtle visits her; she knows she is the cause of her sister’s injury; if Angela had not pulled the box away from her prying eyes at the last minute, the fireworks would have erupted right in her face. Angela is worried that the gash on her own face will leave a scar. Turtle assures her that she will still be pretty even if it does, and she adds, “But wow, that sure was a dumb thing to do.” In the next bed, Sydelle Pulaski reacts with surprise to the realization that “her sweet, saintly partner [is] the bomber” and thinks, “Good for her!”

On Monday Jake Wexler has lunch at Shin Hoo’s Restaurant so he can spend time with his wife. Grace and Jimmy Hoo have actually agreed to eat with him if he will help them with their clues and not demand a share of the inheritance if they win. Two of their clues are “PURPLE - FRUITED,” and the pair concludes that they point to E. J. Plum, the lawyer.

At J. J. Ford’s apartment, the judge and Sandy are recording the information they have about each of the heirs in a brand-new notebook, and Sandy reviews aloud what they have learned about the Hoos. James Shin Hoo’s first wife died of cancer, and he has recently remarried. His young, new wife, Sun Lin Hoo, is from China; his son from his first marriage, Doug, is a college track star. In addition to being a restaurateur, James Hoo considers himself an inventor; his latest innovation is a paper innersole for shoes. James Hoo had once sued Sam Westing over rights to the invention of the disposable paper diaper, but because Westing disappeared, the case never came to court.

That night, Theo juggles the letters in his clues into different combinations. He concludes that they spell out the chemical formula for an explosive and the name of the alleged murderer, Otis. Excited with his discovery, he runs up the stairs to tell his partner, Doug, but inadvertently knocks on the wrong door. Crow admits him into the adjoining maid’s apartment. Crow has been praying and makes Theo join her in pleading “for deliverance.” She then tells him cryptically, “You must go to your angel, take her away.”

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