Stand-alone to date
"A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!"
Hmm where to start with this one? I've actually read this before but it was at least 5 years ago and I forgot almost everything that happened (except for the end of course!). Let's start with the bad and work into the good!
This isn't necessarily a bad thing for everyone but it was for me - a lack of distinction between the characters. I had such problems remembering who was who and who lived where and who was partners with who and who had what clues and who said what (I'm confused just with that sentence!). It reminds me a lot of an Agatha Christie book, And Then There Were None to name an example. There were just that many characters and you aren't exactly sure who plays a big role and who you should remember.
Also, one other thing is that sometimes it can really drag - especially in the middle. However, it's all worth it when you make it to the end and read those last few chapters!
Now for the good things! The complexity of this book is great and really twists your brain into knots. The solution to the puzzle is just so outside-the-box it blew my mind! I also really loved the end. Like I mentioned above, the last few chapters are just the jewels of the book. The flash to the future perfectly wrapped things up.
The Final Verdict:
While this book is bit boring at times and difficult to remember the characters, the complexity and ending make up for it!
“Sunset Towers faced east and had no towers.”
“Angela could not be the bomber, not that sweet, pretty thing. Thing? Is that how she regarded that young woman, as a thing? And what had she ever said to her except "I hear you're getting married, Angela" or "How pretty you look, Angela." Had anyone asked her about her ideas, her hopes, her plans? If I had been treated like that I'd have used dynamite, not fireworks; no, I would have just walked out and kept right on going. But Angela was different.”
“You can't read my shorthand because I wrote in Polish.”
“Friday was back to normal, if the actions of suspicious would-be heirs competing for a two-hundred-million-dollar prize could be considered normal.”
“Your trouble comes from years of wearing the wrong kind of shoes. - Jake Wexler”
“Smiling without good reason is demeaning.”
“Life, too, is senseless unless you know who you are, what you want, and which way the wind blows.”