‘The Westing Game’ is one of the all-time-favorites of many book lovers. The book is also a part of the school curriculum. This Buzzle article gives a gist of the characters of the book, with their traits. After all, characters are always fondly remembered by most readers.
“I try to say one thing with my work: A book is a wonderful place to be. A book is a package, a gift package, a surprise package — and within the wrappings is a whole new world and beyond.” ―Ellen Raskin
Ellen Raskin’s ‘The Westing Game’ is a murder mystery that unfolds with a band of interesting characters. The locale happens to be Sunset Towers, one of the buildings owned by the wealthy Westing Estate. The building has been rented out to the Wexler family, the Hoo family, the Theodorakis family, J.J Ford, Pulaski, Erica Crow, and Flora. The tenants move in. During Halloween, Sam Westing is appeared to be dead. An obituary reads that the tenants of the tower are declared to be the heirs and successors of the mighty wealth that belonged to Westing.
Apart from the tenants, the other people who were called in were Otis, the delivery boy; Denton, the medical intern; and Sandy, the watchman. All these mentioned characters were asked to pay a visit. The will revealed that one of these people mentioned was responsible for the murder of Sam Westing. They were divided into teams of two each, and each qualified for a payment of $10,000, apart from the cues to solve the murder mystery. The person who would unearth the mystery was to get the Westing Estate. Thus begins the story to solve the mystery and own the fortune riches.
Traits and Character Description of the Westing Game Characters
The Wexler Family (4 members)
Dr. Jake Wexler
He is a podiatrist and a bookie too. He is the husband of Grace Wexler, and also has two daughters, Angela and Tabitha Wexler. In the murder mystery, he is the partner of Sun Lin Hoo, the wife of James Hoo. He is a Jew, and an extremely loving father to his daughters. He is aware of the fact that his wife is far from being satisfied with him and his job, yet he loves her.
She is supposedly the real niece of Sam Westing, at least she claims to be. She believes it to such an extent that she claims to have similar looks with Westing’s deceased daughter. On the whole, she appears to be a snob and superfluous woman who believes in the vanity of life. She looks down upon her husband, and doesn’t approve of his credibility as a doctor. Grace is not too fond of her younger daughter, as she is not blessed with brilliant looks. She is fond of interior decoration, and off-late, she has been employed in James Shin Hoo’s restaurant. Hoo is her partner in the mystery-solving task. Both develop a great friendship.
She is a girl of unparalleled beauty. She is also the apple of the eye of her mother, owing to the looks she is bestowed with. Angela is projected in the story as the perfect blend of beauty and brains. She is soon to be married to Dr. Deere. Angela is also a medical student. She is paired with Pulaski. She bears a lot of resemblance to Violet Westing, thus suggesting to be one of the rightful heirs on the basis of her lineage and relation.
Tabitha-Ruth ‘Turtle’ Wexler
Tabitha is extremely intelligent and gifted with wits and courage. She is the younger daughter of the Wexler family, and a hated person of her mother. She is into the stock market. Tabitha is paired with Flora Baumbach, and fulfills her want of motherly affection from her. She also has a soft corner for Doug Hoo, who, however, doesn’t reciprocate. She has the nasty habit of kicking people.
The Hoo Family (3 members)
James Shin Hoo
James is the proud owner of the Shin Hoo restaurant, and the husband of Sun Lin Hoo. He is also the father of Doug Hoo. After knowing about him through the story, it appears that he is an utterly dissatisfied person, and running a restaurant is not what he was always fond of. James wanted to become a business tycoon, but is distressed for Sam Westing’s supposed copying his business idea without his knowledge. It appears that he is one of the prime suspects of the murder, as he had the motive of killing Sam, on the basis of stealing his idea. However, at the end of the story, we get to know that James dies, and is also not guilty of Sam’s murder. He is happy to be paired with Mrs. Wexter.
Sun Lin Hoo
Sun is the second wife of James Hoo, and has enough reasons to remain distressed. Not because she is the second wife, but because she is very different altogether. Sun is a misfit in the Sunset Towers. She is not very well-versed with the English language, and feels isolated. She is not given much time by her husband. Sun is teamed up with Mr. Wexter. Her desperation to go back to China forces her to venture into small-time theft. She is happy to receive English classes from Mr. Wexter.
Doug seems to be the least interested in inheriting the Westing fortune. He is not akin to studies, and is a devoted sports person. He goes on to make it big as an athlete, and makes a career as a sports announcer on television. Turtle is highly fascinated by him. Doug is paired with Theo.
The Theodorakis Family (4 members)
Talking about George is a revelation indeed. He is the childhood love interest of Sam Westing’s daughter, Violet Westing. Owing to the disapproval of their alliance, Violet had given up her life. Now, George owns a coffee parlor at the Sunset Towers. He has a family comprising his two sons and his wife.
Catherine is not a player in the mystery-solving game, but is the mother of her two player sons. She is keen to get the money if any of her sons happen to win, essentially because the money would aid in the treatment of her younger son’s ailment.
It wouldn’t end up being an exaggeration if Theo is christened as a Samaritan. He is a budding writer, who would leave no stone unturned to provide some medical attention to his ailing younger sibling. Theo is keen and is partnered by Doug. They also become good friends. Theo is later married to Turtle, and realizes his dream of being a novelist.
Chris is inflicted with a malady that has restricted him to a wheelchair. But that doesn’t deter him from being a bird-watcher, and an extremely intelligent and sensible fellow. He has to thank three people in his life who assisted and guided him to pursue his dreams, and later become a scholar. Chris also discovered rare species of birds. He was overtly helped by his elder brother Theo, his friend and partner Dr. Deere, and the lawyer Ford.
It’s a well-known fact that ‘Seeing is Believing’. But while attempting to know about Otis, it has to be borne in mind that all that we see may not be true always. Otis is known as a delivery boy at Sunset Towers. But in reality, he is an undercover private detective on duty. He was hired by Sam Westing to care for his wife, Mrs. Crow. Later in the story, we find that they both get married.
Berthe Erica Crow
Well, to begin with her description, it is important to know a few facts about Berthe Erica Crow. She is the heart-broken mother of Violet Westing. Violet’s love affair with George Theodorakis was not approved of by her mother. Hence, she died. This shattered Crow. At the end of the day, she is after-all responsible for the untimely death of her daughter. She therefore gave in to alcohol. After calling it a quits, Berthe tried to find solace in religion. She also separated from her husband, Westing. At Sunset Towers, she is working as a cleaning woman. She eventually gets drawn towards Otis, and weds to him.
Judge J.J. Ford
Josie Jo Ford is a very aggressive and efficient judge. She is one of the players in the Westing game. She is the daughter of Westing’s maid servant. Westing had funded her education, hence, she owes money to him. She is determined to win this last Westing game, for she has memories of always losing to Westing whenever they played a game of chess.
Flora is the mother of Rosalie, who was mentally retarded, and has died. This left Flora in turmoil. But after she was paired with Turtle in the game, she developed a motherly affection towards her. Flora is in charge of making Angela’s wedding gown. Both Turtle and Flora are able to fill the void in their own respective lives by standing up for each other.
Denton is a budding doctor. He is an intern in plastic surgery, and soon to be wedded to Angela. He is also the partner of Chris. Chris has some real good reasons to have a partner like Deere. He helped him with some good medical aid, which helped him substantially in achieving what he has got. Denton also deals very patiently with Angela when she decides not to marry him. Later however, they married each other, happily.
There are two vital points which make Sydelle relevantly important. First, she is adept at shorthand writing, and retains the content of the will in shorthand, since the time it was first read. Second, she poses to be down with an incurable sickness, and walks around on crutches. What an attention monger!
Sandy is perhaps the most insignificant of all the other characters, but your opinion about him is sure to change once you read the book completely. He displays himself as a fired ex-employee of Sam Westing’s company. He ended up being a doorman at Sunset Towers. Sandy is the poor partner of J J Ford, who doesn’t think twice before giving away her entire share of $10,000. He claims to have a wife and family, of whom we get no glimpse. Later, it’s known that he is Sam Westing himself.
Ironically, the able players were trying with all their might to catch hold of the murderer. But, at the end of the story, it gets revealed that Sam Westing is not dead. He was never dead. Turtle is the heir to the vast wealth of Sam Westing. With strings of clues and variation in the characters, Ellen Raskin brilliantly swept the minds of her readers in The Westing Game.