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...

(The entire section is 719 words.)