I first heard of The Westing Game, I think, in a comment left by my old bloggy friend, Wendy. (She’s not old, just quit blogging, so she’s not a current bloggy friend, right? I miss her writing, actually.)
Based on her loving the book as a kid, I bought it for Maya and put it on her bookshelf. It has thus far failed to capture her interest, so it’s just been sitting there, waiting. When I signed up for the Herding Cats reading challenge, I saw this book on the list, and thought it was a good chance to read it.
The Westing Game is the story surrounding the death of Sam Westing, an eccentric millionaire who leaves behind clues to his murder. He suspected that he might be murdered, and thus put together a puzzle for 16 people to solve, most of whom live in an apartment building next to his house. Almost all of them have some connection to Westing in their lifetime. The person who solves his murder, the story goes, will inherit the millions.
The main character is Turtle Wexler, a middle school student with a long braid and a penchant for kicking people (hard) in the shins. She’s the most likable character, and the one you’re rooting for all along. The other characters are (mainly) the other participants in the mystery.
I enjoyed getting to know the many characters, their complexities, and their motivations. But honestly, I didn’t feel truly drawn to any of them, and didn’t care much how the story ended. It was a satisfying mystery (I’m not much of a mystery fan, though), and well told, just not great. Would I recommend the book? Sure, in a half-hearted way. But not with the same enthusiasm I would have in recommending The Book Thief, A Little Princess, or Number the Stars. All much better, in my opinion.