Chapters 6-7 Summary

Attorney E. J. Plum has never actually met Samuel Westing, but he testifies as to the legality of the will, which has been signed by the deceased and two witnesses—Julian R. Eastman, President of the Westing Corporation, and Doctor Sidney Sikes, the county coroner. In the document, Westing names the sixteen heirs present as his “nieces and nephews” and says that tomorrow his ashes “will be scattered to the four winds.” He then asserts that his life has been taken by one of his heirs, and he promises that the heir who finds something will receive the inheritance. What the players are supposed to find is never stated because, to lighten the mood at that point, Sandy shouts out facetiously, “Ashes!” Attorney Plum does not go back to clarify what, exactly, the winner will need to find.

The next point, which has a patriotic flavor, reads:

Hail to thee, O land of opportunity! You have made me, the son of poor immigrants, rich, powerful, and respected....Take stock in America...and sing in praise of this generous land. You, too, may strike it rich who dares to play the Westing game.

The heirs are then asked to say a silent prayer for “good old Uncle Sam” and are directed into the adjoining game room.

Upon entering the game room, Theo Theodorakis’s attention is drawn to a finely carved chess set laid out on a table. Noticing that someone has moved a white pawn, he idly makes a defensive move with a black knight. E. J. Plum then calls everyone to attention, and he begins to read the next section of Samuel Westing’s will.

The rules of the Westing game are simple. The sixteen players will be divided into eight teams; each pair will receive ten thousand dollars and a set of clues. Absent pairs will forfeit their money, and if one member of a team drops out, his or her partner must leave as well. The object of the game is “to win.”

Jake Wexler and Mrs. Hoo are immediately disqualified as...

(The entire section is 820 words.)