Study Guide

The Westing Game Chapter 1

By Ellen Raskin

Chapter 1

Sunset Towers

  • Sunset Towers, which is on Lake Michigan, faces east (away from the sunset), is empty and ready to be populated.
  • Barney Northrup, who's not a real person, mails out letters to the building's chosen tenants.
  • The letters are delivered by a strange, 62-year-old delivery boy on July 4th.
  • These letters invite tenants to move into Sunset Towers. The building has great views, service, air conditioning, and is in a great neighborhood. The letters say there are only a few units left, and that the tenants should call right away. There's also space in the building for a doctor's office, coffee shop, and restaurant.
  • Only six letters are mailed, but all six receivers respond. Each makes an appointment with Barney Northrup to show it to them.
  • First, Barney shows the building to Grace and Jake Wexler. He tells them that there's only one apartment left. Grace is impressed by the carpeting and chandeliers, and thinks it's convenient. Jake's less convinced, even though, as Barney tells them, it's cheaper than their old house. Jake will also be able to use the doctor's office.
  • Grace is already imagining how she'll decorate the apartment, and is excited by the thought of living in such a high-class location.
  • By the sixth appointment, with Sydelle Pulaski, Barney's still telling people there's only one apartment left. Sydelle's not as impressed with the apartment as the Wexlers are, but she wants to live in the upscale building—even though she doesn't have a lake view.
  • Barney rents out the whole building in one day to lots of different people, some with families, and some who are alone. The narrator tells us their professions, which include doctor, secretary, judge, and restaurateur. The narrator also tells us that one of them is a mistake.