Study Guide

The Westing Game Chapter 2

By Ellen Raskin

Chapter 2

Ghosts Or Worse

  • On September 1, everyone moves in; a posted sign says that Sunset Towers belongs to the Westing estate.
  • On September 2, Shin Hoo's restaurant (on the fifth floor) has a grand opening. It's not doing as well as the first floor coffee shop, though. All the neighbors seem content.
  • Then, it's the end of October. Sandy McSouthers, Theo Theodorakis, Doug Hoo, and Otis Amber are hanging out at the end of the Sunset Towers driveway, looking at smoke coming from the Westing estate.
  • Turtle rides her bike up and draws attention to it. She asks if that means old Mr. Westing is back.
  • Doug, the track star, avoids touching Turtle's braid, because whenever someone touches it she kicks him or her in the shins. Nice.
  • Otis says no. Mr. Westing is either on a private island or dead—and if he is dead, his gruesome body is spread out on the living room rug at the Westing estate.
  • Sandy says that would serve him right, but someone alive has got to be up there because of the smoke. He says, maybe it's the two kids from Westingtown.
  • When Doug, Theo, and Turtle ask for details, Sandy and Otis tell them that something horrible happened to those two kids one year ago on Halloween. They were bet a dollar they couldn't stay in the house five minutes. As soon as they went inside, they came right back out screaming.
  • One fell off a cliff to his death and the other's still stuck in an insane asylum, where all he says is "purple waves," and keeps staring at his hands, which were covered in blood when he came out of the house.
  • At first, Doug and Theo seem skeptical, but soon they're as horrified as Turtle is. Turtle bets them she can stay in there for $2 a minute.
  • Meanwhile, from upstairs on the second floor, Theo's brother Chris watches them. Chris, who's in a wheelchair, has to spend a lot of time in their apartment, so he watches birds and people. He sees Theo and Turtle make the bet, but before that he'd been watching a bird—a purple martin—when he saw somebody with a limp, although he couldn't tell who, go into the Westing house. Right after that, he started seeing smoke.
  • Chris has a great view of the Westing house, which has seventeen covered windows. In contrast, none of the windows in Sunset Towers have screens. However, Chris feels like someone's watching —maybe God.
  • What Chris doesn't understand about that is how God could let him have his physical condition. His body starts to spasm as he waits for Theo to come in.