Study Guide

The Westing Game Chapter 8

By Ellen Raskin

Chapter 8

The Paired Heirs

  • That night, there's a blizzard that traps almost everyone inside Sunset Towers with no electricity. Turtle goes to each house and sells multi-colored candles she made at summer camp. She sells the candles, which sort of tell how much time's passed, for five bucks apiece.
  • Almost everyone begin to work on their clues, with two exceptions: Jake goes to his office to sulk, because he thinks Grace cares more about the money than her uncle; Madame Hoo keeps staring out the window, because she doesn't even know about the game.
  • Dr. Deere, Otis, Crow, and Sandy aren't trapped in the building like everyone else.
  • Meanwhile, seven tenants have invited Sydelle and Angela over for tea, because they want to look at Sydelle's shorthand copy of the will. They go to each for tea and leave as soon as they're asked about the book.
  • The only apartment they're not invited to is the Theodorakis's, but they go anyway and visit with Chris. Sydelle brings him a macaroon and calls him "poor thing," which makes Angela feel bad.
  • Angela says Dr. Deere's snowbound, or he'd be helping Chris with the clues. Chris tells Angela she is pretty and asks her what the names of some grains are.
  • Angela mentions several types of grains and Chris repeats the last, "oats." When Chris asks them to read him their notes, they leave. He notices that one of them is only pretending to limp.
  • Chris thinks about his clues, which are "for," "plain," "grain," and "shed." He thinks "grain" means "oats," which means Otis, and that the "d" from "shed" combines with "for" to make "Ford." He decides to wait for Dr. Deere to keep going.
  • Chris looks out the window with his binoculars and sees someone moving at a window of the Westing house.
  • Meanwhile, Turtle thinks the instructions in the will mean to buy stock, and that the winner of the game will be the one who makes the most money. She thinks their clues, "sea," "mountain," "am," and "o," stand for stock abbreviations.
  • When Flora brings up finding the murderer, Turtle puts her off: Turtle doesn't want anyone to know she was in the house and saw the body. Flora says they should buy Westing paper products, like it said in the will, so Turtle adds that stock too.
  • Flora doesn't totally believe Turtle, but she likes being around her, so she goes with it. They agree that the quotation in the will, "May God thy gold refine," supports their plan, and is either from the Bible or Shakespeare.
  • Meanwhile, Mr. Hoo and Grace can't make sense of their clues: he thinks they mean "purple fruited." Grace says insensitive things about Madame Hoo and Sydelle; Mr. Hoo calls her prejudiced.
  • Grace says Sydelle can't be the murderer because she is disabled, and she doesn't know how her uncle knew Sydelle would wear a dress with purple waves on it to the reading.
  • Mr. Hoo suggests Grace murdered her uncle for his money.
  • Grace puts their clues in a new order—"fruited," "purple," "waves," "for," and "sea" – and excitedly suggests the murderer lives in apartment 4C. That's where Mr. Hoo lives.
  • Mr. Hoo complains that the coffee shop is stealing his business and that Angela and Sydelle didn't pay for their refreshments.
  • Grace leaves in a huff, before co-signing their $10,000 check. She calls herself "Gracie Windkloppel Wexler," and says she's useless.
  • Downstairs, Theo and Doug divide their money—half for Theo's parents, half for Doug's college fund—and start talking clues: "his," "n," "on," "to," "thee," and "for." Theo wonders if they're numbers, and Doug thinks "on" is "no." He says they've got nothing so far.
  • Theo presses for detail, and Doug says the only strange thing he saw the night of the murder was Turtle. He thinks she has a crush on him. Doug considers telling Theo what his father said about Westing but doesn't.
  • Theo says he was playing chess with another heir at the reading of the will, which could be another clue. He thinks they all have to put their clues together to figure out who the murderer is.
  • Doug doesn't understand how they'll do that, and leaves to practice jogging.
  • In another wing, Judge Ford reviews her clues—"skies," "am," "shining," and "brother"—and thinks they're a message, even though they're not as insulting as they could be.
  • She doesn't understand why Westing would leave clues revealing his murderer, because she doesn't understand how he could've let himself be murdered in the first place.
  • When she opens the letter from Plum, she finds a certification of Westing's sanity, signed by Sidney Sikes.
  • This reminds her of the obituary, so she checks it and remembers that Sikes was Westing's friend, and that the two were in a car accident. She trusts Sikes' opinion.
  • She decides to put the clues aside and wishes that Sydelle would let her look at the shorthand copy of the will, where she thinks the "real" clues are. She decides that the will "implies" (8.74) Westing was murdered by one of the game's players, and that figuring out the murderer is the answer.
  • Judge Ford thinks the game is awful and that people will keep playing anyway because they want to win the money. She worries that Westing set the whole thing up to punish one of the players, so she thinks she has to figure it out before anyone else, to stop the game from what she thinks will be a bad end.
  • She calls Barney Northrup but gets his machine. This is good, she thinks, because she shouldn't trust him. Instead, she calls the newspaper and asks for information about the other players.
  • Meanwhile, Angela and Sydelle confer in the Wexlers' apartment.
  • They go over their clues: "good"; "hood," which Sydelle misreads as "Hoo"; "from"; "spacious"; and "grace," which Angela worries about because it's her mother's name.
  • Sydelle reminds her that the will said that what they don't have is more important than what they do, and asks again if the Wexlers are really related to Sam Westing. Angela doesn't really answer.
  • Sydelle thinks their clues mean "Good gracious from hood space" and they should look in the parking lot.
  • Then, they review the other players' clues: "king" and "queen" from Otis and Crow; "purple waves" from Grace; "on" or "no" from Doug and Theo; "grains" from Chris. Angela shares "MT," which she found written by Turtle on a small piece of paper in a note about stock shares. She thinks it stands for a clue of "mountain" or "empty."
  • They look over all the clues. Sydelle's disappointed because none of their words are verbs, and they still don't have everything.
  • She asks about the judge, and Angela says the judge called herself a pawn in the game, and was looking back over the obituary.
  • Theo interrupts them briefly, asking if either wants to play chess. When they say no, he leaves.
  • Sydelle looks at the obituary and notices that Sam Westing was really into chess.
  • The two women realize that they've talked about three chess pieces: pawn (Judge Ford), king (Otis), and queen (Crow).
  • Sydelle reminds Angela that the will said the goal was "to win," and Angela wonders if it means "twins."
  • They go back to Sydelle's apartment so she can look over her copy of the will, but when they get there the door's open. Angela doesn't realize that Sydelle stops using her crutch as she races to the bathroom to look for her copy of the will, which has disappeared.