The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin

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Chapters 21-22 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 812

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 song “America the Beautiful.”

Grace Wexler realizes that her obsession with status and wealth is ruining lives, and she is reconciled with her husband. Sydelle is confident that she and Angela have solved the Westing game with the discovery that the clues make up the words to “America the Beautiful”; in addition, they have decided that Otis Amber is the murderer because his name (Amber) is in the song. Doug Hoo wins the first indoor track meet of the season, which makes both James Hoo and his young wife proud. It is revealed that Mrs. Hoo has been stealing items from residents of the building with hopes of selling them to get the money to return to China. She is getting used to life in America, however, and does not seem to want to return to her homeland as much anymore.

On her visit to the dentist recommended by Sandy, Turtle is startled to see rows of dentures with crooked teeth displayed on the professional’s shelves. She remembers the bucktoothed smile of Barney Northrup; after Turtle confessed to being the...

(This entire section contains 812 words.)

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bomber, Barney had come by to tell the Wexlers they would have to pay for damages to the building. Turtle kicked him in the shin.

J. J. Ford has been thinking about the possibility that Sam Westing’s corpse might indeed have been a wax dummy and the likelihood that the great gamesman might still be alive. She remembers reading that his face was terribly disfigured in the auto accident that led to his disappearance; no one has seen him since, and he might look very different now. Sandy appears at J. J. Ford’s apartment and tells his partner that Barney Northrup has just fired him from his position as doorman. J. J. wonders if Sam Westing is masquerading as Northrup and reminds Sandy that at the meeting tonight their objective will be to protect Westing’s ex-wife. After studying the woman’s physical characteristics as delineated in old newspaper clippings, both agree that she must be Crow.

Crow has an ominous feeling about the meeting scheduled for that evening. She tells her partner, Otis, that she believes that somehow Sam Westing is out to get his daughter’s murderer and senses that someone—specifically herself—is in “real danger.”


Chapters 18-20 Summary


Chapters 23-24 Summary