The outskirts of Westingtown, which is situated on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The two main locations are within sight of each other: the newly built Sunset Towers and the Westing house, abandoned for many years before the start of the novel.
Sam "Windy" Windkloppel a.k.a. Sam Westing / Barney Northrup
/ Alexander "Sandy" McSouthers / Julian R. Eastman
The mastermind of the Westing game, he fakes his death as self-made millionaire Sam Westing to unite his extended family and find a suitable heir for his estate. As realtor Barney Northrup, he convinces most of the Westing heirs to move into Sunset Towers. As Sunset Towers doorman Sandy McSouthers, he befriends the heirs and helps guide the events in the game. As Julian Eastman, he continues to run the Westing Paper Products Corporation as its newly-elected chairman.
Flora Miller Baumbach
Tenant in 2C, a dressmaker whose daughter Rosalie died a year before the novel begins.
Tenant in 2D and owner of the coffee shop in the lobby, he dated Violet Westing before she was forced into an engagement she didn't want.
Tenant in 2D who runs the coffee shop with her husband George.
Tenant in 2D and older son of George and Catherine, a high school senior who wants to be a writer.
Christos "Chris" Theodorakis
Tenant in 2D and younger son of George and Catherine, he suffers from a neurological disease which confines him to a wheelchair.
Tenant in 3C, the secretary to the president of Schultz Sausages.
Tenant in 3D and a podiatrist who keeps his office on the first floor.
Grace Windsor Wexler a.k.a. Gracie Windkloppel Wexler
Tenant in 3D, a social climber and self-professed decorator.
Tenant in 3D and older daughter of Jake and Grace, she is known for her beauty and her engagement to young, promising intern Denton Deere.
Tabitha-Ruth "Turtle" Wexler
Tenant in 3D and younger daughter of Jake and Grace, she is less attractive than Angela and interested in the stock market.
James Shin Hoo
Tenant in 4C and owner of Shin Hoo's Restaurant on the fifth floor.
Sun Lin Hoo
Tenant in 4C and James' second wife, she came from China to marry and wishes to return to her homeland. She begins the novel unable to speak English.
Tenant in 4C, son of James and stepson of Sun Lin, he is a high school athlete who shows much promise.
Judge Josie-Jo Ford
Tenant in 4D, her parents worked for the Westing family when she was a child.
Berthe Erica Crow
Tenant in the maid's apartment on the fourth floor, actually the ex-wife of Sam Westing who became an alcoholic before finding religion and dedicating herself to a Skid Row soup kitchen.
Delivery boy for Sunset Towers and worker at Crow's soup kitchen, he is also a private investigator hired by Sam Westing, Barney Northrup, and Judge Josie-Jo Ford.
A medical intern engaged to Angela Wexler.