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The Wexlers: Apartment 3DEdit
Turtle Wexler - The 13-year old daughter of Grace and Jake Wexler, Turtle is very bright, though somewhat unruly and vexing. She gets in trouble a bit at school, mostly due to the radio chip in her ear that keeps her in touch with the stock market reports after the beginning of the game. Turtle is very sensitive about her hair, and throughout the book if anyone touched her hair they would be kicked in the shins. Her real name is Tabitha-Ruth Wexler, and is referred to later in the story as T.R. Wexler as an adult. She has few close relationships except with her partner, Flora Baumbach, whom Turtle calls Baba. Baba calls Turtle Alice (at Turtle's request) and they have a strong relationship. If anything, Turtle sees Baba as more of a mother than Grace Wexler. Turtle was convinced that the answer to the question posed in the will was that the group that had the most money by the end of the game would win. Though that assumption was incorrect, she ended up winning the game. One of her other close friends, doorman Sandy McSouthers, was in fact Sam Westing, and she was the only one who knew that he was alive (despite his again faking it) as Julian R. Eastman. She would go to his house often to play chess, and managed to defeat Mr. Westing, unlike Judge Ford. (Table 2)
Grace Wexler - Turtle and Angela's mother, Grace has always favoured her older daughter, Angela, over her younger one. She mistreats Turtle by neglect and emotional abuse, and holds Angela hostage with the dreams Grace has for her. Grace is a bigot and believes that women are meant to be wives. This is why she wants Turtle to be more like Angela and why Grace forced Angela out of college and into her engagement. Grace Windsor Wexler was actually named Grace Windkloppel Wexler, but she removed the Windkloppel for many of the same reasons that Sam Westing did. Despite seeming to be pretending/lying about the fact Mr. Westing was her uncle, the name match indicates that she may have actually had a biological connection to him. At the end of the book Grace had taken over the Hoo Restaurant turning it into the successful chain of ten sports themed restaurants (Hoo's On First, Hoo's On Second, etc.). (Table 5).
Angela Wexler - Engaged to Dr. Denton Deere at her mother's urging, Angela is so submissive she seems almost incapable of making her own decisions. However, beneath her compliant exterior lies a whirlwind of resentment. She is internally frustrated by the fact that no one appreciates her mind, captivated only with her beauty. She is tired of never getting in trouble, always having to do what her mother wants. She wants to be noticed, to have less expectations, but Grace is no help. Angela resorts to bombing (not to harm, just to be noticed). However, she never gets seen as bomber and Turtle lies to cover for Angela. Angela has a strong relationship with her partner, Sydelle Pulaski, and they go everywhere together. Angela loves that Sydelle is so strange and Sydelle loves that Angela can get her attention. While that sounds negative, it was a very loving and symbiotic relationship. By the end of the book, in the epilogue, she breaks off her engagement to Dr. Denton D. Deere. She then meets him years later when she is in medical school and he is a neurosurgeon. They do end up marrying, but voluntarily. They have a child together, Alice. (Table 8).
Jake Wexler - Married to Grace Wexler, who clearly dominates in their union, Jake works primarily as a podiatrist. He seems to have a limited relationship with those in his nuclear family, preferring to immerse himself in work than deal with the strain of three females. However, Jake still has his secrets, one of the more unsavoury being his side business as a bookie. He is also shown to be a regular customer at Hoo's and shows kindness to Mrs. Hoo. He helps teach her English and feel more comfortable around people. Later, he is appointed two government positions (associated with his bookie past). Partnered with Sun-Li Hoo, they both missed the first meeting and never really became part of the game. (Table 1).
The Hoos: Apartment 4CEdit
Doug Hoo - A senior in high-school, like his friend Theo Theodorakis, Doug is a runner, making first in the all-state high school mile run. Much to his father's displeasure, he values athletics over grades, and their relationship is subject to much strain. However, while Mr. Hoo's point cannot be ignored, neither can Doug's talent. The two manage to compromise, and their relationship is restored. Partnered with Theo Theodorakis, they are the ones who suspect Otis Amber. They change their minds after seeing him helping at a soup kitchen with Crow. (Table 7).
Mr. James Shin Hoo - Possessing his own restaurant, Mr. Hoo changed his name for it to sound more Chinese, so that it would correspond with his business. He suffers from ulcers, which are his complaints for nearly everything, and is partnered with Grace Wexler. (Table 5).
Madame (Sun Lin) Hoo - Cook at the family restaurant, Sunny is Mr. Hoo's young, second wife. She is ill at ease in the US, longing to return home to the Orient. Though she is generally a sweet soul, she is not immune to temptation. She managed to steal several treasured keepsakes of other tenants, hoping to use them to purchase her way back home. In the end, she remorsefully confesses, and does not return home until after her husband's death. Partnered with Jake Wexler. (Table 1).
The Theodorakis: Apartment 2DEdit
Theo Theodorakis - Chris's older brother, Theo is fiercely loyal to his younger brother. Theo is also quite bright, believing the Westing Game has something to do with chess and has aspirations to become an author. He harbors a small crush on Angela during the game. Since Angela bears an uncanny resemblance to Violet Westing, Berthe Erica Crow believes the past will repeat itself (ending with Angela's suicide, a parallel to Violet's) if Angela (Violet) goes on to wed Dr. Denton Deere (the politician) instead of Theo (his father). Despite Crow's attempts to bring them together, they share no romantic relationship. Theo ends up marrying Turtle and writing one book (confirmed 6 copies sold, but rave reviews) and starting another. (Table 7).
Chris Theodorakis - Theo's younger brother, Chris is disabled (a disease that began a few years prior to the book) and spends much of his time bird-watching from the confines of his wheelchair in apartment 4D. Though he speaks slowly and tends to stutter, his manner of speaking does not mirror the rate of speed thoughts process in his mind. Many people don't take the time to find out that Chris is extremely intelligent, and his knowledge and perception extend far past ornithology. Flora Bambauch says that "his smile could break your heart." Chris was partnered with Dr. D, who was the one to get Chris on a drug trial for a drug that helped Chris steady his limbs and speech. By the end of the book, in the epilogue, Chris is married and has married a fellow ornithologist. He will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Mr. George Theodorakis - Father to Theo and Chris, Mr. Theodorakis owns the coffee shop in the apartment's lobby and plays a very small role in Westing's actual game. He was once the lover of Violet Westing, but their romance was cut short by Mrs. Westing, who forced Violet to wed a wealthy and influential politician. It was said that Mr. Westing included only Theo and Chris in the game because he didn't want to humiliate Mr.Theodorakis, or open old wounds; however, Mr. Westing looked for a way to make things right after Violet's suicide.
Mrs. Theodorakis - Mother to Theo and Chris, plays no part in Westing's game. She is not named an heir and has less than five lines in the book.
Flora Bambauch: 2C Edit
Flora is a divorced seamstress who now lives alone. She's hired to make Angela's wedding dress and once also made one for Violet Westing. She smiles all the time, especially in inappropriate situations, which makes some of the other characters question her behavior. While we find out pretty quickly that she had a daughter named Rosalie, we don't know what happened to her or why she's not around.
This smaller-scale mystery is solved later on in the novel when we learn that Rosalie had Down's syndrome, and died when she was only nineteen. It seems her death is connected to the Baumbachs' separation, just as Violet Westing's death was connected to her parents' separation.
The fact that Flora gets partnered up with Turtle for playing the game starts a real healing process for both of them. Turtle helps diminish the pain Flora feels at the loss of Rosalie, and Flora stands up for Turtle as a softer, kinder mother figure.
Sydelle Pulaski: 3C Edit
Sydelle Pulaski is the mistake. That's not all she is, but that's supposedly her biggest role in this mystery; her part was supposed to be played by someone else.
The private investigator Barney Northrup hired to investigate Sunset Towers' potential tenants confused Sybil Pulaski—the person they really wanted—with Sydelle Pulaski. While that might have been disastrous, it turned out to be fortuitous. Here's why:
First, Sydelle is a "character" in the crazy eccentric sense of the word. She's an overweight, overlooked secretary with a penchant for the dramatic, and she's really, really craving some attention. This means she goes so far as to totally make up an incurable illness, which she calls a "wasting disease," and to hobble around on crutches that she paints to match her clothing.
Second, without Sydelle, the real Mrs. Westing would have been found out much sooner. Since Sybil Pulaski was her childhood friend, it's fairly likely that she and the ex-Mrs. Westing would have recognized each other, perhaps even before the first will reading. That would have put a much different spin on the clues coming out, especially when they seem to be leading up to Mrs. Westing's alias.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, because of her secretarial training, Sydelle has the ability and the presence of mind to take notes on the will the first time it's read through. While the notes are in Polish shorthand in that form are useless to the rest of the characters, as an idea they come in extremely handy during the trial scene, when the heirs have to look back over the will to figure out how else everything could have gone down. Without her copy of the will, the eventual winner might not have been able to solve the mystery.
Otis Amber - Sunset Towers delivery boy, it was Otis Amber that delivered the apartment letters to each of the tenants. He was later revealed to be a private investigator
Berthe Erica Crow- Very religious, always dresses in black. She has several corns on her feet that Dr. Wexler tries to fix. She started the Good Salvation Soup Kitchen on Skid Row. She is the ex-wife of Sam Westing (SPOILER!!!) and the "answer" to the game.
Edgar Plum - The young lawyer who was (for unknown reasons) chosen to handle the Westing Estate.
Dr. Sydney Sikes - A friend of Sam Westing.
Judge J. J. Ford
Forms of Sam WestingEdit
Windy Windkloppel - The poor immigrant that came over, the first name Sam Westing had.
Sandy McSouthers - The kind doorman, he was the guy many people liked. He was paired with J.J. Ford, the woman that he knew when she was a child. She would have been the one to figure out his game first if he had not steered her in the wrong direction, letting Turtle win. Sandy "died" of a heart attack.
Barney Northrup - A minor form, Barney was the realtor that Sam played when renting out the apartments.
Julian Eastman - The new chair of Westing Paper Products (WPP), Mr. Eastman is the last "surviving" form of Sam Westing. Turtle was there when he died, and along with him every name he had given himself.
Sam Westing - The multi-millionaire tycoon, he was the name given to himself to help sell his product. In his words, "Would you want to buy Winkloppel Paper Towels?"