Author: Ellen Raskin
Rating: 4 Stars
Review By: Shana
I absolutely loved this humorous mystery classic, and Newbery winner, when I was a kid. A new apartment building is built, Sunset Towers (though it faces sunrise and is only five stores tall), within view of the mansion of Samuel Westing, reclusive millionaire. A very select group of tenants moves in and shortly thereafter, Samuel Westing comes out of hiding only to be found dead. His will is a riddle, and his 16 heirs all in residence at Sunset Towers. It is not clear how he died or why, or how each heir is connected to Westing. But the heir that solves the riddle will inherit all.
While I couldn't remember the particulars, I did remember laughing and guessing and being utterly charmed when the riddle was unraveled. I decided to pick it up again as an adult to see what the grown-up me thought of a story that had so amused me as a child. The verdict: it is still great fun. Definitely more challenging a mystery for the adolescent set, but I did not guess each part of the puzzle, and was impressed at how diverse the cast was and how the author wove in serious themes (belonging, achievement, entitlement, loneliness, love) with a light touch and humanity, and plenty of humor. I'm so pleased that this classic from my childhood has aged so well.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...