Hello, one and all! My name is Amanda, and I have the honor and pleasure of doing a guest post on Rachel's Reads. I am kind of intimidated to be here, but excited. I hope you like the book I've chosen for today, which is:
When an eccentric millionaire dies mysteriously, sixteen very unlikely people are gathered together for the reading of the will...and what a will it is! - Quoted from Goodreads
I know that Halloween is almost two whole months away, but when the leaves begin to change and the air begins to cool, I am drawn to the classic "whodunit" mysteries, and this book, I believe, is the quintessential mystery novel.
Since Goodreads is a little sparse in their description, let me elaborate a bit on the summary. An eccentric millionaire, Sam Westing, dies unexpectedly in his mansion. Nearby, a new apartment complex, Sunset Towers, has just filled all it's vacancies. Coincidentally, (or is it?) nearly all the tenants of the apartment complex, from the bellboy to the restaurant owner, are named as heirs to the Westing fortune. The only catch? In order to inherit Sam Westing's millions, they have to discover who MURDERED him.
Sounds like a classic mystery-type novel. Some of you might even call the plot cliche. But there is nothing cliche about this masterfully written book. The author does a wonderful job of weaving clues and red herrings throughout the entire novel, making the story tightly woven. This, in the end, gives you great satisfaction when you finally figure out "whodunit". I love when an author has the ability to leave clues along the way so subtly that you never pick up on them, and when the big reveal is announced, you think, "how could I have missed those?!" But you did, even though they are obvious in retrospect. I am not a person who is taken by surprise. I hardly ever fail to see plot twists in books and in movies. But here I most certainly did. And so, I bet, will you.
The characters are also deliciously unique and imperfect. Most of them have some rather annoying qualities, but somehow they are made endearing in the telling of this story, and in the end, you are cheering all of them on, even the most grumpy, or short-tempered, or vain, or . . . well, you get the idea. I think it takes real skill to make such people protagonists, yet I found myself enjoying each and every one of their quirks.
Lastly, I love this book because it is perfect for nearly all ages. I first read this book when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I loved it then, I loved it when I re-read it again in Junior high, and loved it even more when I read it in high school and in college. It is a timeless book for two reasons: one, because you can read it time and time again, and two, because it appeals to readers of all ages. That is why I am giving it a 5-star rating. I probably have maybe ten books in the entire world I would give that rating to, and this book is one of them. So if you are in the mood for a little thrill and mystery, check it out and enjoy. And if you do, perchance, guess who killed Sam Westing, I will personally give you $1,000,000;). (Ha, ha, you never will!)