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    December 12, 2012

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    Margot Kinberg

    Les - What a great idea for a post! In my opinion, anything that encourages young people to get lost in a book is a good thing. And some of those traditional mysteries are just the ticket. Thanks for sharing this one.

    Les Blatt

    Margot, if you haven't read "The Westing Game," you should. The writing is lively, and Raskin knows how to "hook" an audience. In the first chapter, she describes the apartment building where the sixteen "heirs" are living - in fact, where they had been selected ahead of time to get apartments. At the end of the chapter, Raskin writes:

    "Who were these people, these specially selected tenants? They were mothers and fathers and children. A dressmaker, a secretary, an inventor, a doctor, a judge. And, oh yes, one was a bookie, one was a burglar, one was a bomber, and one was a mistake. Barney Northrup had rented one of the apartments to the wrong person."

    And that's just the beginning of the book! I suspect readers will indeed be hooked - and stay hooked.

    Patrick Murtha

    "The Westing Game" is a perfectly smashing book. Anyone who enjoys it ought to check out Raskin's three earlier, somewhat similar titles - "The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)," "Figgs and Phantoms," and "The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues." As you note, she is an equally good read for youngsters and adults. Her tone had some influence, I believe, on Daniel Handler's excellent Lemony Snicket series. Raskin - also an artist - died too young at age 56, just a few years after "The Westing Game" was published.

    Les Blatt

    I hadn't thought of her in connection with the Lemony Snicket series, Patrick, but I can see where she might have been an influence. I've had "The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) in my to-be-read pile for a while and do need to find time to read it - and I wasn't aware of the other two books; thanks for pointing them out. And, yes, she died far too young. A fine writer indeed.

    Patti Abbott

    I can remember my son especially reading this throughout a vacation. What a great book. And the kids wrote Raskin a fan letter, which she was kind enough to respond to. Great writer. I am going to include this on forgotten books. I want to read it right now!

    Les Blatt

    I've heard from a lot of people, Patti, saying the same thing - how they, or their children, found "The Westing Game" and couldn't put it down until they finished it. Again, I think it's a book that adult readers would enjoy as well, if they enjoy the classic/traditional puzzle-based mystery. Forgotten? I hope not, and I'm delighted it seems to be back in print.

    Sergio (Tipping My Fedora)

    Thanks very much for this Les - I have a couple of fairly advanced 8-year-old nieces who have expressed an interest in Agatha Christie but I think this might be a better bet.

    Les Blatt

    Sergio, I think they'd enjoy Christie, to be sure - but The Westing Game is probably perfect for them. Again, I think you'd enjoy it as well - it really is a multi-layered, fair-play puzzle, the kind where you can look back at the end and see where you were given all the clues you needed. I was delighted to find, for example, that I had correctly anticipated where one set of clues was headed - but I didn't follow them through for the extra step that was needed to really make sense of them. Great book.

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