Family Fridays – The Westing Game

Book: The Westing Game (1978 – Newberry Medal) by Ellen Raskin

Series: Not part of a series.

Genre: Children’s Mystery

Ages: Barnes and Noble put it in their 10-14 year olds category, which seems about right.


This highly inventive mystery involves sixteen people who are invited to the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. They could become millionaires, depending on how they play the tricky and dangerous Westing game, which involves blizzards, burglaries, and bombings. Ellen Raskin has entangled a remarkable cast of characters in a puzzle-knotted, word-twisting plot filled with humor, intrigue, and suspense.

The mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance.

The Westing Game is a fantastic mystery for this age group. The large cast is handled very well, with distinct voices for each character, and they aren’t just run of the mill personalities, either.  The main character, Turtle, is someone that you really root for and come to admire. The blurb makes the book sound quite gruesome (bombings, murder mystery, etc.) but the tone is mostly lighthearted. I remember really, really enjoying this when I read it as a kid, and then I found it in a library a couple of years ago and was pleasantly surprised that I liked it almost as much as I did back in the good ol’ days.

Apparently there was a movie adaptation, but I haven’t seen it.

Have you read the book? Seen the movie? What did you think?



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