The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin

ages 11 and older

Before you start playing "The Westing Game," be sure you have a notepad and pencil next to you.

That's right. We don't expect you to just read the last mystery in KidsPost's Summer Book Club. We expect you to play, puzzle, ponder and, finally, solve it.

"The Westing Game" won the 1979 Newbery Award for best book for children, which is sort of a shame because grown-ups should get the chance to read this complicated, confounding, funny mystery, too. (You can share your copy with your parents, but not until you've finished it!)

The mystery involves 16 people brought together by their connections to a now-dead millionaire, Sam Westing. The characters themselves are odd. They include a 13-year-old girl who kicks people in the shins; a judge; a high school track star; a boy in a wheelchair who loves to watch birds. You need your notepad just to keep track of who's who.

One of the 16 will inherit Westing's fortune -- if he or she can win at a game involving word clues. Even if you don't need a notepad to keep track of the characters, you will want to have one to keep track of the clues.

But as you play, er, read, you'll soon discover that nothing is quite as it seems. Why does one of the heirs bear a striking resemblance to Sam Westing's dead daughter? Why do bombs keep going off in the building in which all the heirs live? What is the real name of the character called Turtle?

Be warned. Nothing -- and we mean nothing -- is as it seems in this book. Pore over the pages for clues. Re-read passages to make sure you've made the right connections. Remember, sometimes before you can answer "Whodunit?" you need to find out "What happened?"

We hope you've enjoyed KidsPost's Magical Mystery Tour. There are lots of great books and a few more weeks before school starts, so keep reading for fun.

-- Tracy Grant