‘The Westing Game’ an enthralling children’s mystery


Erin Sheffield

“The Westing Game,” written by Ellen Raskin, won a Newbery Award.

What I thought to be an outlandish story at first quickly grabbed my attention as the residents of Sunset Towers were paired with one another to play “The Westing Game.” Tasked to solve the mysterious death of Samuel W. Westing and uncover his rightful heir, everyone is plotting against each other, as everyone wants the promised fortune from his will.

Set in Milwaukee, Minnesota on Lake Michigan, 16 people are selectively moved into Sunset Towers, with apartments uniquely made for each tenant. A body is found, a will is read and teams are made. Everyone is a suspect. Everyone wants the inheritance. And nobody can be trusted. “The Westing Game” has a brilliant mystery plot, winning a Newbery Award and winning a place in the list of Puffin Modern Classic. It is available for $5.99 on Amazon.

Although the book is intended for children, it is recommend for young adults who like a mystery. Overall, the story pulled me in and gave me feelings similar to what one might experience from watching “Bridge to Terabithia” or “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

The author, Ellen Raskin, did a wonderful job creating a universe in which readers are invested in the story. I found myself trying to solve the mystery and felt each characters’ frustrations during the shocking turns of events frequent in the story. Right when I thought I understood the case, some event would change the entire story, forcing me to rethink everything I had learned and question the legitimacy of each character’s “agenda.”

As the story develops and secrets are revealed, the mystery becomes more in-depth.

— Blake Loria, 9

For instance, toward the end of the story, a book written by the character Sydelle Pulaski plays a pivotal role in solving the mystery. Through the book, readers are led to believe the woman did not belong with the others. However, her book turns the tables, and at that point, I realized how little I knew about each character, just knowing enough to predict their mannerisms while still being surprised by the characters’ development. The diversity in the experiences of each character creates an immersive environment and makes the story feel believable.

As the story develops and secrets are revealed, the mystery becomes more in-depth. It is well worth multiple reads to reveal unnoticed details and foreshadows, making for a great experience even after solving the suspenseful mystery.

Although the book is fast-paced, it pulled me into its crazy story and would not let go. I was always interested in reading the book and took my leisurely time reading, as I wanted the experience to last for forever. But I am glad I did finish the book, as the conclusion is well worth it, and the epilogue adds the perfect amount of answers and new questions to close the story.