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What I (re)learned today...
A long, long, time ago, I can still remember, er, um...

Back in the early 1980's I went to a private school in Binghamton, NY. One of the things which the school did then (and possibly still) was to daily combine two of the classes together for story-time, in which books would be read to us -- things like various bits of mythology (After the Ilead, we did the Aeneid) and fiction (including Grendel by John Gardner, I suppose we covered Beowulf earlier). As this was considered reasonable story fare by the teachers for a mixed class of 6-13 year olds, it is an indication as to what the school expected of its students.

One of the books read was a children's book, a mystery centered around a collection of potential heirs trying to solve the puzzle embedded in a will. There are a lot of twists and turns, and in the end the heroine solves the mystery by discovering that the supposed decedent is not really dead, but has been in view of the heirs all along in the form of several incidental characters, including a good friend of the heroine. The coda of the book takes place after the heroine has grown up, successful helping run her friend's business, and is present at his true death.

I liked the book then, and have over the years wanted to reread it. Unfortunately, I had long forgotten the title of the book. I've tried describing the plot to folks, but I never got a good reply back. I've included the clue that the names of directions plays a major role in the mystery.

While browsing through TvTropes, the entry on The Chessmaster included as an example the Ellen Raskin's Newbery Metal winning novel The Westing Game, with a familiar-sounding plot and motifs. Wikipedia gives a more complete description of the novel. I am convinced that that either (a) the book I was read nearly 30 years ago was The Westing Game, or an incredibly close rip-off.

So I've relearned what this book is, and I'll be throwing it into my next order to Amazon.

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