I read this book about 28-Oct-2007. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1978. This note was last modified Tuesday, 30-Oct-2007 20:55:31 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
A Newberry-winning "puzzle mystery". Short, written for children.
Too many characters for a book this length. Viewpoint shifts sometimes several times in a page. There are 16 heirs of Sam Westing, though one of them and several other characters are Sam Westing, and a few supporting characters. Too many of the characters are shallow stereotypes—Mr. Hoo is Angry, Doug Hoo is Jock. Angela, not even a main character, gets some development; she breaks free of her control-freak mother, and actually becomes something like a person.
Features a smart crippled boy, who is improved but not magically fixed by modern medicine, and a smart active girl who kicks people in the shins if they pull her braid. Or if she thinks they might want to some day; she's a bit of a loose cannon. Also features a lot of loose play with fireworks, which hurt several people.