The Westing Game

The Westing Game Summary and Analysis of Chapter 16 (The Third Bomb) - Chapter 21 (The Fourth Bomb)


The women of Sunset Towers watch as Angela opens her presents at her bridal shower, being led by Grace Wexler. Grace orders Angela to read every card out loud. After opening a mysterious present from “Cookie Barfspringer” and two asparagus cookers, she opens a present that turns out to be the third bomb.

As the police investigate, the paranoia of the tenants grows. One of them is a bomber, a murderer, or a thief, they think as they analyze what everyone says to the police.

Turtle goes to visit her sister in the hospital. Turtle feels as through her sister prevented her from being hurt by the bomb since she pulled the present away as Turtle tried to open it for her. Turtle says that Angela will have a scar and that Angela will test her theory that being pretty isn’t important. Angela wonders if this will be the case. Sydelle, who is in the hospital bed down the ward, mishears her and thinks that Angela admits to being the bomber.

Packages begin being inspected in the building as people are on high alert. Jake Wexler begins sending gifts to his wife (chocolates, long-stemmed roses), but she is very suspicious. Even Turtle saying Mrs. Baumbach’s name to notify her about the falling stock market sounds like she’s saying bomb and causes people stress.

Grace and Mr. Hoo begin to break down their clues as Jake and Mrs. Hoo work on her English. They decide to share clues. "Purple waves for fruited sea" becomes “Plum” which reminds them that the lawyer’s name is Plum. Ed Plum. Fruit/Ed.

Sandy and Judge Ford begin compiling information about the heirs. They detail information about the Hoo family. Mr. Hoo’s wife died five years ago. He apparently married his new wife for her sauce. Doug Hoo is competing in a track meet against college kids. Hoo once sued Sam Westing over stealing his design for a disposable paper diaper. The case was settled. Mr. Hoo has now invented paper innersoles, and Sandy takes credit for giving him the idea.

Theo breaks down his clues and realizes that it makes a chemical name NH4NO3 and reveals the murderer to be Otis. Theo runs to tell Doug, but runs into Crow instead. In a surreal moment, she pulls him into a room to pray for deliverance and gives him a letter.

The next day as Flora braids Turtle’s hair, she reads the Wall Street Journal and updates her on the stock market. She asks if she can call her Mrs. Baba instead of Baumbach (because of the bomb scare) and they settle on Baba. Turtle asks Baba if her daughter Rosalie was smart, and she replies that Turtle is the smartest child she’s ever met. Turtle gets jealous, however, when Flora begins talking about her daughter again.

Sandy collects information on Flora. We learn that Rosalie was Mrs. Baumbach’s mentally handicap daughter who died of pneumonia at the age of 19. Flora also made a gown for Violet Westing. He then reads the file on Otis Amber and almost falls out of his chair from laughing so hard.

Theo is unsure about whether or not the night’s event with Crow was a dream or not. He tells Doug that he thinks he’s figured out the clues and asks him to follow Otis Amber.

Flora watches as the stock for Westing Paper Products climbs and climbs.

Doug follows Otis Amber all over town, seriously blistering his feet in the process. Eventually, after Otis catches him, he reveals that he’s been given letters from Ed Plum, who wants them all to meet at the Westing House that Saturday night.

Sandy and Judge Ford meet and read the dossiers on the remaining heirs. Otis Amber is a 62-year-old fourth grade dropout with an IQ of 50 with no relatives. His connection to Westing is that delivers mail for E.J. Plum. Regarding Denton Deere, they learn he is a graduate of UW Madison. His connection to Westing is that he is engaged to Angela, who looks like his daughter. For Sydelle, they learn that she is secretary to the president of Schultz Sausages and had likely been faking her injury. She has no known Westing connection.

In the hospital, Angela refuses to have plastic surgery to hide her scar, despite the insistence of Denton. Turtle arrives and warns Angela not to say anything to anyone after learning she changed her position on the letter to “person.” Ed Plum arrives to speak to Angela, and when Grace arrives and sees him standing over Angela, she shrieks (thinking he’s the murderer).

Chris has three visitors in one day. One is Otis Amber to deliver the letter. The second is Flora to give him a clue because she felt guilty that she read one of his dropped ones. Finally, Denton arrives and tells him he knows a doctor that may be able to help him with his condition.

Flora listens in delight as their stock climbs to $46 a share. Turtle is getting in trouble at school because she is constantly inventing medical maladies to excuse her listening to the radio every 30 minutes. The toothaches and bladder infections, however, do not convince the school doctors.

Crow polishes silver in the Wexler’s apartment, when Otis arrives and confesses that he believes that Mr. Hoo is the bomber. Crow vows vengeance that he injured and scarred Angela.

Judge Ford and Sandy pull up the file on Berthe Erica Crow. She was married at 16 to a man named Windy Windkloppel and divorced at 40. She used to be an alcoholic, but ultimately gave it up when she found God. She has no known connection to Sam Westing.

Crow visits Hoo’s restaurant where now Jake and Mrs. Hoo are flirting. This time, Grace is jealous. Crow is determined to have revenge on the bomber, Hoo, but when she sees Jake, she complains about the pain in her toes. Mr. Hoo jumps in and gives her a paper innersole that he invented, which makes her change her mind completely about Mr. Hoo being the bomber.

Chris arrives at the hospital and wheels to Angela’s bed, where he gives her the letter that Crow gave his brother. In it, two clues are attached: “With. Majesties.” Angela realizes that the clues of Crow and Otis Amber aren’t king and queen after all.

Sandy complies more information on the heirs. Jake Wexler graduated from Marquette. Grace was born Gracie Windkloppel (the same surname as Crow’s first husband). Angela has one year of college with good grades. Turtle plays the stock market. The connections are that Grace claims that Sam Westing is her real uncle, and Angela looks like Violet… but so does Grace, though she’s older. Sandy tells the judge that Jake is a bookie, and she says that Sam Westing was much worse since he cheated and bribed, even though he had no vices.

Sandy and Ford then realize the connection between Grace’s maiden name and the name of Crow’s first husband. They then realize that they have that name in an interview from a Sybil Pulaski, and they realize that Sam Westing mistakenly chose Sydelle instead of Sybil.

Finally, when Westing Paper Products hits $52 a share, Turtle tells Flora to sell. Doug Hoo continues to trail Otis Amber, until he is thrown off the scent.

Theo experiments with the explosives mentioned and ends up in the emergency room. Luckily, he has an alibi which prevents him from becoming a suspect.

Judge Ford goes and interviews George Theodorakis about his relationship to Violet Westing. They were high school sweethearts, but Violet Westing’s mother wanted her to marry someone with more money, so she broke it off after her mother arranged for her to marry a senator. Seeing no way out, Violet killed herself. With this, Sandy is able to complete the file on the Theodorakis family. Judge Ford begins to speculate that the person Sam Westing is targeting is the person who he hates the most: the woman who is responsible for the death of his daughter. Judge Ford speculates that perhaps Mrs. Westing is still alive, and one of the heirs.

Turtle and Flora count their money as Theo comes in and asks to borrow Turtle’s bike. Turtle grudgingly acquiesces, then calls to check on Angela. When she doesn’t answer, she fears that she is being interrogated for a planting a bomb. Theo tracks Crow and Otis on a bus to a seedy part of town to the Good Salvation Soup Kitchen. Theo watches them help the poor and needy, feels guilty for spying, and returns home.

Sandy completes his own heir profile, revealing that he was born in Edinburgh and was a worker in the Westing plant before being fired for trying to unionize the workers. He then completes a profile on Judge Josie-Jo Ford. She reveals that her mother was a servant to the Westings and her father worked in the gardens on their days off. She never played with Violet, but she played chess with Sam Westing, who beat her every time. She then tells Sandy that Sam Westing paid for her entire education (mostly to have a judge on his side) and she never repaid the debt.

Another bomb goes off in the elevator of Sunset Towers. However, this time the bomber is caught, as there is a sign that says “BOMBER STRIKES AGAIN” written on the back of an essay by Turtle Wexler. Grace is frantic and says she couldn’t possibly be the bomber, but Judge Ford takes her into her custody for questioning.

Judge Ford warns her about the severity of what she’s done, but realizes that she is probably only bombing to protect the identity of the real bomber (her sister, she suspects). Turtle then confesses what she saw on Halloween night and that Sam Westing’s body looked more like a wax dummy than a dead body. Judge Ford is intrigued and gives her some bourbon to put in a cavity in Turtle’s mouth. Turtle runs into Sandy who tells her she must see the dentist straight away.

At the hospital, Angela gets a note from Denton that says he loves her and also has a clue from Chris which illuminates Sydelle and Angela’s clues. The clues when rearranged create the lyrics of “America The Beautiful.”


The significance of the song "America the Beautiful" has become a through line throughout the piece. The allusion to this patriotic song fits into the motif of patriotism. Sam Westing refers to himself as Uncle Sam and there is a feeling of Americaness in this mystery. The diversity of the cast helps create a portrait of America in the 1970s.

Angela is a character undergoing dynamic changes. For the first time, she feels as though she is having decisions made for her. She right now is being set up as the potential bomber, not to hurt anyone, but to take action in her own life. Her decision to change her position from “fiancee” to “person” shows the shift in her thinking.

There is a sense that perhaps some of the characters are not who they appear to be. There are holes in how a few of the characters relate to Sam Westing. One such character is Crow, who married a man with the same last name as Grace Wexler’s birth surname. The similarities between the Wexler women and Violet Westing creates a suspicion that there may be a connection there.

Turtle continues to find a mother figure in Flora Baumbach. She, however, grows jealous whenever she talks about her daughter Rosalie, because she is likely tired of competing for attention with her own sister. Turtle’s confession to Judge Ford is the first time she has told an adult about her experience in the mansion, increasing the likelihood that this is a clue that will solve the mystery.

There is a humorous subplot in the flirtations between the Wexlers and the Hoos. In some ways, the spouses seem more compatible with the others than with their own spouse, but this jealousy is making them pay more attention to each other. Again, it seems as one of the primary aims of the Westing Game is to get the tenants to interact more with each other.