Raskin, Ellen. The Westing Game. Puffin Books, 1978. 182 pages. Hardcover $14.49, ISBN 978-0-525-47137-0; 1997 Tr. $6.50, ISBN 978-0-14-038664-6; 2004 Tr. $5.19, ISBN 978-0-14-240120-0; 1997 PLB $14.61; 2004 PLB $13.01, ISBN 978-1-41552-763-4
TL;DR: Do I recommend this? Yes!
Part of a series? No.
Sixteen people are called to the Westing House when millionaire Sam Westing dies on Halloween. In order to determine who inherits the fortune, the sixteen people (heirs) must find out who killed Westing. Clues are given out piecemeal, and everyone is a suspect! Bombs, getting snowed in, and theft heighten the tension.
Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:
I’ve heard from many people that this is their favorite book. I had to give it a shot, especially since the third grade boys are working on a mystery novel unit. The plot is intricate; I found myself needing to flip back and forth to make sure I had remembered a clue correctly, and I was focusing so hard on the threads of the story that I almost missed my bus stop! It’s an engaging story with some real twists and great red herrings.
Curriculum Ties/Library Use:
At the school where I work, third grade does a mystery unit. I’m so glad that we have this book in the collection; this is a great fit for a mystery project. I would hold a murder mystery party in class or in book club as an activity. (Idea from myself; how to hold a murder mystery party information here; for an academic library, but could be usable/scalable for an elementary school library.)
Grade Level: 5-8
Awards and Starred Reviews:
Newbery Medal, 1979
Jackson, K. (n. d.). The Westing game (Review of the book The Westing Game). Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/the-westing-game
Kirkus Reviews. (1978, May 1st). The Westing game (Review of the book The Westing Game). Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/ellen-raskin-0/westing-game-raskin/
Murder Mystery information:
Kirby, M. (2003, Aug. 4). How to host a murder mystery in your library. Carleton.edu. Retrieved from https://www.carleton.edu/campus/library/reference/workshops/MurderMystery.html