The Westing Game by Ellen Haskin is a book that I some how missed during my childhood. This book has certainly stood the test of time, although certain parts are a bit outdated, and adult me really enjoyed it (and I expect child me would have enjoyed it as well). Ellen Haskin is a wonderful writer who doesn’t talk (or write, rather) down to kids. Instead she’s written a truly engaging novel that speaks to children rather than at them. Raskin has written a high quality book that is perfect for kids without seeming childish. The Westing Game is a Newbery Medal Award winner and it’s easy to see why- an intriguing mystery, a strong plot and a large group of fascinating characters make this a wonderful book for children and adults alike.
The Westing Game follows sixteen varied characters as they use the clues they have received to try and solve the mystery of who murdered Samuel W. Westing. I loved seeing the story progress as clues were put together and as more and more was revealed about the different characters. I don’t want to describe more of the plot in this review because the fun of this book is reading it yourself and seeing the mystery slowly unfold from the first page.
Some parts of this book are out dated, particularly some of the language used, especially in regards to a character who happens to be in a wheelchair. Parents of younger readers may have to explain that this language was acceptable at the time the book was written in 1978 but that we no longer use some of the terms. Other things that may have to be explained are shorthand and the lack of cell phones and computers in the book.
The book is wonderfully detailed, little things that draw you in and keep you guessing. One of my favourite details of this book is how the mailboxes in the apartment building already had the tenants names on them right from the start, that really set the stage for an intriguing and fun mystery.
This book is absolutely wonderful, 4.5/5 and I would highly recommend it no matter your age.