The Westing Game
Realtor Barney Northrup rents out the apartments of the newly-constructed Sunset Towers to a select group of tenants that includes the Wexler family (podiatrist Jake, wife Grace, daughters Angela and Turtle), the Theodorakis family (coffee shop owner George, wife Catherine, sons Theo and Christos), the Hoo family (restaurant owner James Shin, second wife Sun Lin, son Douglas), Judge Josie-Jo Ford, secretary Sydelle Pulaski, and dressmaker Flora Baumbach. The building not only has spaces to accommodate the businesses of Jake Wexler, George Theodorakis, and James Hoo, but also has a cleaning woman, Berthe Erica Crow, who also lives in the Towers, a doorman, Sandy McSouthers, and a delivery boy, Otis Amber. The tenants move into their new homes in September; on Halloween, smoke is seen rising from the Westing house, on a cliff that’s within view of Sunset Towers. Rumors have it that Sam Westing, the rich industrialist who owns Westing Paper Products, has either returned to his old home or has been dead on the Oriental rug for a long time. On a dare, Turtle Wexler goes up to the Westing house where she discovers what she thinks is Sam Westing’s body, dressed up like Uncle Sam.
The morning after, the newspaper reports Sam Westing dead. The inhabitants and workers at Sunset Towers – minus Barney Northrup, George Theodorakis and wife Catherine – receive letters inviting them to a reading of Westing’s will the next day, as does Angela Wexler’s fiancé D. Denton Deere. After the heirs gather at the appointed time, attorney E.J. Plum reads the testament, where Sam Westing reveals he has not died of natural causes and that one of the heirs present is guilty. The will asks his sixteen heirs to play a game to discover who took his life. To do this, the players are assigned into pairs: Jake Wexler and Madame Hoo, both of…..
Q1 –At the end of the chapter 1 we are told that one of the tenants was a mistake. Which tenant do you think was a mistake? Explain your choice
Q2 – What surprised Turtle Wexler about the Westing house?
Q3 – According to Chris, what special talent did his brother Theo possess?
Q4 – Sam’s obituary mentions that he was a dedicated gamesman and a master of chess. Why might this be significant?
Q5 – Why was Turtle startled when she looked in the coffin?
Q6 – Explain Mr. Hoo’s comment, “The poor are crazy, the rich just eccentric”.
Q7 – What was the object of the game?
Q8 – Why is Sydelle Pulaski upset when she discovers her shorthand notebook is missing?
Q9 – Provide evidence from this chapter that Grace dislikes Turtle and favours her other daughter.
Q10 – Why does Angela become upset when everyone continually asks about Denton?
Q11 – What dilemma did the tenants face as they awoke on the third snowbound morning?
Q12 – According to Judge Ford, who are the four people with Westing connections?
Q13 – According to the fireman why was it not unusual to have had two explosions within two days in the same building?
Q14 – Why were the tenants purchasing so many Westing Paper Products?
Q15 – People who suspect others of committing a crime but have no evidence or proof, often say they are relying on instinct or a gut feeling. Are there any problems with relying on instinct or gut feeling? Explain.
Q16 – The author makes use of humor throughout the novel. Give some examples.
Q17 – How does Judge Ford react when told by Sandy that Jake Wexler is a bookie?
Q18 – Who does Judge Ford believe must be protected and why?
Q19 – Briefly describe the note posted in the elevator.
Q20 – What is the irony of Jake Wexler’s new position?