Who Killed Sam Westing in the Westing Game

Title: Who Killed Sam Westing in “The Westing Game”: Unraveling the Mystery


“The Westing Game” is a captivating mystery novel written by Ellen Raskin. The story revolves around a complex puzzle, intertwined with a cast of eccentric characters, all vying for the inheritance of the wealthy Sam Westing. With numerous twists and turns, readers are left with one lingering question: Who killed Sam Westing? In this article, we delve into the heart of the mystery, exploring various theories and shedding light on the true identity of the culprit.

The Murder Mystery:

The novel begins with the death of Sam Westing, a mysterious tycoon who lived in the luxurious Sunset Towers. As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that Westing’s death was not a natural one. The residents of Sunset Towers, divided into eight pairs, are summoned to participate in a game created by Westing himself. The objective? To solve the mystery of his murder and inherit his vast fortune.

Throughout the game, clues are unveiled, and secrets are exposed, leading the players, and readers, down a convoluted path filled with red herrings. As the story progresses, readers are introduced to a diverse group of characters, each with their own motives and secrets. From the intelligent and resourceful Turtle Wexler to the enigmatic Sydelle Pulaski, each character adds depth to the narrative and raises suspicion.

The Theories:

1. The Heirs: At first glance, the most obvious suspects are the heirs themselves. With a fortune at stake, greed and ambition drive many characters to commit ruthless acts. However, as the story progresses, it becomes evident that the true murderer lies outside the realm of the heirs.

2. Sandy McSouthers: Sandy McSouthers, the doorman of Sunset Towers, is initially introduced as a minor character. However, as the plot unfolds, it becomes apparent that Sandy holds a significant role in the story. His resemblance to Sam Westing, his chess expertise, and his knowledge of the tenants’ secrets make him a prime suspect. However, Sandy’s secret identity reveals that he might not be the one responsible for Westing’s demise.

3. Crow: Crow, a mysterious woman who arrives in Sunset Towers, is another character with a suspicious aura. Her role as the judge of the Westing Game raises questions about her involvement in Westing’s murder. However, as the story progresses, Crow is revealed to have a deeper connection to Sam Westing, but not as his killer.

The True Culprit:

In a stunning twist, it is revealed that Sam Westing faked his death. He masterminded the Westing Game as a way to seek justice and bring his murderer to light. Westing, disguised as Barney Northrup, played various characters throughout the game, manipulating events and characters to achieve his ultimate goal. In the end, it was revealed that the true murderer was none other than Julian Eastman, the lawyer hired to execute Westing’s will. Julian’s greed and desperation led him to commit the heinous act, ultimately sealing his own fate.


Q: Why did Sam Westing fake his death?
A: Sam Westing faked his death to expose his murderer and seek justice.

Q: How did Julian Eastman murder Sam Westing?
A: Julian Eastman poisoned Sam Westing’s cigarettes, leading to his eventual demise.

Q: Did any of the heirs suspect Julian Eastman?
A: No, the heirs were unaware of Julian Eastman’s involvement until the final revelation.

Q: Were there any clues leading to Julian Eastman as the killer?
A: Throughout the story, Raskin drops subtle hints, such as Julian’s peculiar behavior and his connection to Westing’s past, indirectly pointing towards his guilt.


“The Westing Game” is a thrilling mystery that keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very end. Ellen Raskin skillfully weaves a complex web of suspense, leading readers through a convoluted maze of clues and characters. With a surprising twist, the true identity of Sam Westing’s killer is finally revealed, providing a satisfying conclusion to a captivating story.

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