Lemony Snicket had an unusual education and a perplexing youth and now endures a despondent adulthood. His previous published works include All the Wrong Questions, the thirteen volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Composer is Dead, and 13 Words.
Snicket, author of the wildly successful Series of Unfortunate Events stories, returns with the first in the projected four-volume All the Wrong Questions series, supplying "autobiographical" accounts of his unusual childhood. Nearly 13 when the book opens, Snicket is beginning his apprenticeship for a mysterious organization under the tutelage of dimwitted S. Theodora Markson, who is ranked dead last in effectiveness by the agency but who may be the source of Snicket's tic of defining vocabulary pedantically, a word which here means, oh, never mind. Unlike Snicket's Unauthorized Biography (HarperCollins, 2002), which left readers as uninformed about him as they were before they read it, this account reveals that Lemony is "an excellent reader, a good cook, a mediocre musician, and an awful quarreler." Not mind-blowing, but it's a start. And perhaps not true. Straight answers are hard to find as Snicket and Markson investigate a theft in a seaside town that's been drained of its sea, encountering deception and double crosses at every turn. Full of Snicket's trademark droll humor and maddeningly open-ended, this will have readers clamoring for volume two. Ages 9-up. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 4-7-In this "autobiographical" mystery, a teenaged Lemony Snicket recounts his early experiences as an apprentice to S. Theodora Markson, a pretentious woman who is not remotely as intelligent as she pretends. The two travel to the formerly seaside (but now not) town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea to investigate the theft of, what they are told, is a priceless heirloom. The identity of the culprit is obvious. Or is it? There's much more to this case than meets the eye. To uncover what's really going on, the inquisitive Snicket must figure out who he can trust and which questions to ask before it's too late. This fast-paced whodunit is likely to leave readers with questions of their own. Hopefully, they're the right questions-which, hopefully, will be answered in upcoming sequels. Written in Snicket's gloomy, yet undeniably charming, signature style and populated with wonderfully quirky characters, this enjoyable start of a new series will thrill fans of the author's earlier works and have even reluctant readers turning pages with the fervor of seasoned bookworms. A must-have.-Alissa J. Bach, Oxford Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.