From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We know from the start that Barney Northrup is not a real person, but we don't find out who's impersonating him until nearly the end of the book. What we do know about him is he's a fast-talking real estate dude with a funky mustache and great lying ability.
Spoiler: He's really the second identity of Sam Westing.