Turtle confesses to the bombing by posting a note in the elevator. Her mother is traumatized, and Mr. Hoo tells his wife that he’s lucky his son is a dumb jock. Madame Hoo considers how she’d be able to get back to China by stealing and selling Doug’s track medals and Turtle’s missing Mickey Mouse clock.
Grace is distraught that her daughter is the bomber, but Dr. Wexler tries to convince her to go to the track meet to cheer up. It brings up ghosts from their past - how Grace’s family disowned her for marrying a Jew and how Jake feels like a loser for not being able to provide more money for his family. Turtle, Angela, and Sydelle oversee their argument and Turtle becomes upset. Jake convinces her that nothing’s wrong, and they tell him that they will see them at the track meet. Angela is elated that her family is more engaged in their own problems than hers, and Angela is buoyed by the prospect that with the clue of “America the Beautiful” they will win the game.
Judge Ford believes that Sam Westing could still be alive to watch the fun and that whoever could possibly be Sam Westing’s former wife (Crow, she thinks is most likely) is in terrible danger. Denton arrives with Chris, who communicates much better because of the medicine Denton has provided him with. Judge Ford reads newspaper reports that say that the car crash Sam Westing was in caused him to have to have his entire face reconstructed, which means he could look like anyone.
Turtle visits the dentist, who has a curious collection of dentures with chipped and false teeth. He fills in her cavity and she remembers Barney Northrup’s visit to her parents, demanding that they pay for the damage from the bombs. She kicks him hard in the shin.
Doug Hoo wins his track meet and thanks his dad to the reporters, making both Mr. and Madame Hoo beam. Sandy McSouthers comes to Judge Ford’s apartment and tells her that Barney Northrup fired him for drinking on the job. He also reveals that Otis Amber does not live in a grocer’s basement and is much smarter than he lets on. He suggests that Crow is Sam Westing’s ex-wife and Otis is Sam Westing. As the residents approach the Westing Mansion that night, Crow tells Otis that she feels she is in terrible danger.
As everyone arrives, they notice that Turtle has had a haircut, due to her singed braid. Everyone says she looks nice and Flora shows Turtle a picture of her deceased daughter, Rosalie. Turtle thinks about how covering up for Angela being the bomber means that her sister has to love her forever. Judge Ford arrives in a turban and robe.
The instructions this time are different, and each pair has to say something on record when their name and titles (altered to reflect how they’ve grown since the beginning) are called. Jake and Madam Hoo: “Boom.” Flora and Turtle: “11,587.50” (their income from investing). Denton and Chris: “Mr. Westing was a good man” (he wanted them to be with the perfect partner to make friends.) Judge Ford and Sandy McSouthers: no answers, but Judge Ford sees that Otis cannot be Sam Westing. Mr. Hoo and Grace Wexler: “Ed Plum.” Crow and Otis: “mother” (Crow repeating the mysterious change of title in the instructions). Doug and Theo: “no answer.” Sydelle and Angela rise, and in answer, Sydelle sings two verses of “America the Beautiful” and names Otis Amber. The instructions then say there will be a short pause and calls for Crow to go to the kitchen for refreshments.
Denton says to Judge Ford that it doesn’t seem as though any of the heirs have had plastic surgery, but McSouthers could’ve probably used some. As Sydelle and Angela badger Ed Plum for clues, he realizes he is late for reading the next clue. He opens it up and reveals the instructions: go directly to the library, do not pass go.
The next clue reveals that all answers are wrong, and that teams will be disbanded. The clue reminds them it’s not what’s there, it’s what’s missing. Ed Plum locks them in the library. Panicking, they all decide to collaborate to solve the mystery and share the inheritance. They each lay out their clues and it forms the lyrics to “America the Beautiful” with letters missing.
"O BEAUTIFUL FOR SPACIOUS SKIES FOR AM WAVES OF GRAIN FOR PURPLE MOUNTAIN MAJESTIES ABOVE FRUITED PLAIN AMERICA AM
GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE
AND N THY GOOD WITH BROTHERHOOD FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA"
The missing letters are “ber,” “the,” “erica,” and “crow” spelling out the full name Berthe Erica Crow!
Before the group can turn on Crow, Ford defends her, saying that she must be considered innocent before proven guilty and not to let their greed make them rush to conclusions. As she says this, Sandy falls to the floor clutching his throat and writhing in agony. Two men rush into the room and Dr. Sikes declares him dead. The other points out that he drank from a flask filled by Crow.
As the police arrive, Ed Plum declares that he must continue to read the will. The will declares that Samuel Westing was born Samuel “Windy” Windkloppel (the same last name as Grace’s maiden name) and declares the game null and void if no one has found the murderer. They have five minutes to decide. Each person is tempted to give up the murderer, but no one does until the final minute, where Crow stands and says her own name. She says that she gives half of her $200 million inheritance to Otis for the Good Salvation Soup Kitchen, and the rest should go to Angela.
Sandy is dead. Crow is taken to jail. The remaining heirs sit in Judge Ford’s living room pondering what happened. Denton accuses Turtle of kicking Sandy because he saw a bruise on Sandy’s shin, but she claims she never kicked him ever and the only person she kicked was Barney Northrup. They talk about the best things about Sandy, and Theo tells the room how he used to play chess against Sandy, or at least Sandy would move the pieces in the game room when no one was watching. When Theo tells them that he took Sandy’s queen, Judge Ford recognizes the classic Sam Westing move as a “queen’s sacrifice.” Turtle puts the pieces together and realizes that Sam Westing is Barney Northrup and Sandy, who winked at her while he was dying. Re-reading the will, she realizes that Sam Westing (Windkloppel) was the husband of Crow and their one daughter had drowned. Judge Ford agrees that maybe the point of the game was to punish Crow, or get his enemies to forgive him, as Chris suggests. Judge Ford realizes that Crow was the queen in the queen’s sacrifice. Turtle stands up and starts a trial.
She says that Sam Westing and Sandy are both dead, but Crow is innocent. She questions Chris, who reveals he saw Dr. Sikes enter the Westing mansion on the night she went in. She questions Otis Amber, who reveals he is a private investigator hired by Barney Northrup, Sam Westing, and Judge Ford. He reveals Sam Westing hired him to follow his ex-wife, Crow, after she left him to make sure she stayed out of trouble. Barney Northrup hired him to investigate the heirs, as did Judge Ford. She realizes through questioning Otis that he and Sandy both cooked up the story of a dead man on the rug to entice the kids into going inside on Halloween. She then questions Denton about if Sandy really seemed dead and if the dead body could have been a wax dummy. Madame Hoo finally cannot stand the guilt and returns the things she’s stolen from people in the apartment to their owners, revealing that she intended to sell them to go to China.
Turtle goes on to realize that Sam Westing must’ve had a fourth disguise as she remembers the quote, "The estate is at the crossroads. The heir who wins the windfall will be the one who finds the fourth.” However, she does not reveal it to the group. Crow returns, interrupting the trial.
That night, a fireworks display erupts over the Westing mansion, burning the house to the ground. The only one who receives money is Crow, who receives three $10,000 checks. It seems all is lost, until Turtle goes off on her own, pursuing the man who will win her the same. She arrives at the residence of Julian Eastman, chairman of the board of Westing Paper company. It’s Sam Westing. By finding him, Turtle has won the game.
She keeps the fact that he is alive secret, but visits him every Saturday afternoon. A wedding is held at Hoo’s restaurant, but it’s a wedding for Otis Amber and Crow. Judge Ford moves out of Sunset Towers, but not without the promise to correspond with Chris to help him get into a good college. Hoo’s paper innersole gains traction. Sydelle returns to work as a secretary for Schultz’s Sausages. Jake Wexler quits his practice and becomes a government official for a state inquiry into a state lottery. Grace Wexler takes over Hoo’s On First and turns it into a sports-themed restaurant. Angela calls off her engagement and returns to college to study to become a doctor. Crow and Otis Amber move into the apartment above the soup kitchen, which is bolstered by Sam Westin’s donation.
Five years later, the tenants reunite at the new lake-front home of the Hoo’s. Doug Hoo is an Olympic medalist making his return home, as Theo who is an assistant journalist helped publish him in the papers. Sydelle becomes engaged to the president of Schultz’s Sausages. Chris brings a friend, Shirley Staver. Turtle is now eighteen and in her second year of college, going by the name T.R. Wexler.
Many more years later, Sam Westing lays dying and T.R. Wexler is by his side. She is his only heir. She tells of how everyone has succeeded in life because of the Westing Game: J.J. Ford sits on the supreme court, Chris has married Shirley, Denton has married Angela, and she has married Theo. She says her goodbyes to him, having kept his secret all along. She returns home where Angela’s daughter, her niece Alice, waits for her. Baba has tied ribbons in her hair and T.R. asks her if she wants to play a game of chess.
The Westing Game is finally solved. While the premise of the book is billed as a murder mystery, it is in fact simply a mystery. There is no killer and the mystery lies in the motives of Sam Westing. The surprise twist at the end is in fact that he had no intention of harming any of the participants, but simply wished to help each and every person whose life was connected to his.
The reveal that Crow is the former Mrs. Westing ultimately is the reason for the game. He wanted her to find peace and move on with her life with the money that he could not offer her in person. Crow, who had devoted her life to finding penance for the death of Violet, was ultimately given the money necessary to continue her work at the soup kitchen and find happiness with another man who loves her, Otis Amber.
Turtle’s decision to keep the real point of the game to herself shows that for her the objective of the Westing Game was never simply the money, which she learned how to invest herself, but the knowledge that she solved a puzzle, which endears her to the man who is indeed her own kin, Sam Westing. She never tells a soul, but continues to be mentored by the man who she knows as Sandy, but was Sam Westing all along.
Each of the characters goes on to find happiness as a result of the Westing Game. The game unlocks the potential in each of the characters rather than simply handing them a fortune. Angela's realization that she needs to have agency in her own life leads her to become a doctor herself before ultimately marrying Denton as an equal. Grace Wexler as well unlocks her potential as a businesswoman and becomes successful in her own right, leading her to find pride and happiness rather than fussing over her daughter.
Ultimately the Westing Game brought a diverse group of people together and made their lives better by intimately learning from those they only knew at a distance. The chess master Sam Westing ultimately was a good man wanting to improve the lives of those who he felt he had wronged. The money was the incentive but the hope was that each of them would unlock the potential in themselves that was there all along, which was, in the long run, Sam Westing’s chess plan all along.