Illustrated by Seth
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Match wits with Lemony Snicket to solve thirteen mini-mysteries.
Paintings have been falling off of walls, a loud and loyal dog has gone missing, a specter has been seen walking the pier at midnight — strange things are happening all over the town of Stain’d-By-The-Sea. Called upon to investigate thirteen suspicious incidents, young Lemony Snicket collects clues, questions witnesses, and cracks every case. Join the investigation and tackle the mysteries alongside Snicket, then turn to the back of the book to see the solution revealed.
A delicious read that welcomes readers into Lemony Snicket’s world of deep mystery, mysterious depth, deductive reasoning, and reasonable deductions.
Table of Contents
A Sneak Peek of “Who Could That Be at This Hour?”
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Please find enclosed herein the first six (6) of thirteen (13) reports filed under "Suspicious Incidents" in our archives. These six (6) reports have six (6) conclusions which have been separated from their corresponding reports for security reasons. The reports are contained in sub-file One (1) and the conclusions in sub-file B (b) so that it is impossible for each report and conclusion to be in the same place at once. For your convenience, both sub-files are included here.
The information contained herein is secret and important, meant only for members of our organization. If you are not a member of our organization, please put this down, as it is neither secret nor important and therefore will not interest you.
All misfiled information, by definition, is none of your business.
Sub-file One: Reports.
Inside Job. Pinched Creature. Ransom Note. Walkie-Talkie. Bad Gang. Silver Spoon.
One morning I was arguing with the adult in charge of me. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what that is like, and it is one of the world's great difficulties that this sort of argument goes on nearly every place on almost every morning between practically every child and some adult or other. Another one of the world's great difficulties was S. Theodora Markson. During my time in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, Theodora was my chaperone and I was her apprentice. Being her apprentice meant that we shared a small room in a hotel called the Lost Arms. The room was too small to share with one of the world's great difficulties, and this was probably why we were arguing.
"Lemony Snicket," she was saying to me, "tell me exactly what being an apprentice means."
"S. Theodora Markson," I said, "tell me exactly what the S stands for in your name."
"Snide answers aren't proper," she said. "They're not sensible."
"I know it," I said, and I did. "Snide" is a word which here means "the kind of tone you use in an argument," and "sensible" refers to the tone you are supposed to use instead.
"If you're smart enough to know that," Theodora said, snidely, "then tell me all about being an apprentice."
"You and I are in a secret organization," I began, but Theodora looked wildly around the room and shook her head at me. My chaperone's hair was a crazed and woolly mess, so when she looked around the room and shook her head, it was like seeing something go wrong at a mop factory.
"Shush!" she hissed.
"You know why shush. You shouldn't talk about our secret organization. You shouldn't even say the words 'secret organization' out loud."
"You've just said them twice."
"It doesn't count if I say it in order to tell you not to say it."
"Well, what can I say instead?"
"You know what."
"No, I don't know what," I said. "That's why I asked you."
"Say 'you know what,' " Theodora said, "instead of 'secret organization.' That way you won't have to say 'secret organization' out loud, which you should never do."
"Except in order to tell me not to say it," I reminded her, and went on with my answer. "You and I are in you know what, and being your apprentice means I'm learning all the methods and techniques used by you know what. There are sinister plots afoot in this town, and you and I should be working together to defeat them in the name of you know what."
"Wrong," Theodora said, with a stern hairshake. "Being my apprentice means you do everything I say."
"That's not what I was told," I said.
"Who told you?"
"You know who," I said, just to be safe, "at you know what, you know where, when, and how."
"You're talking nonsense," Theodora said. "Breakfast is ready. As your chaperone, I'm telling you to hand me two napkins."
"As your apprentice," I said, "I'm telling you we don't have any."
"I suppose it doesn't matter," Theodora said, and I suppose she was right. My chaperone made us breakfast every morning on a metal plate provided by the Lost Arms. When you flicked a switch the plate got hot, and this morning Theodora had laid two slices of bread on it and then begun arguing with me. Now the bread was burned black on one side, like a shingle covered in tar, and the other side was soft and cold from sitting on the windowsill we used as a refrigerator. A napkin would not turn a half-burned, half-cold piece of bread into breakfast. A garbage bin would have been more helpful. I put the failed toast in my mouth anyway. Theodora didn't think it was proper for her apprentice to talk with his mouth full, so it was the best way to avoid talking to her.
Over the sound of burned crusts against my teeth I heard a knock on the door, and Prosper Lost peeked in at us. He was the Lost Arms' proprietor, a word which here means he stood around the lobby with a small smile and called it running the place. I called it a little creepy, although not to his face. "Lemony Snicket," he said.
"You're not Lemony Snicket," Theodora said to him.
"There's someone downstairs to see you," Lost explained to me.
Theodora frowned at the proprietor. "Whoever's waiting downstairs isn't Lemony Snicket either," she said. "Lemony Snicket is right here with crumbs on his shirt."
"Someone is here to see Lemony Snicket," Prosper Lost said, as clearly as he could.
"Thank you," I told the proprietor, and excused myself.
"Whatever you're doing," Theodora called after me, "be quick about it. You have a very busy day, Snicket. You have to buy some napkins."
My mouth wasn't full, but I pretended it was so I didn't have to answer as Prosper Lost led me down the stairs. "Who is it who wants to see me?" I asked him.
"A minor," Lost replied.
"Do you mean a child, or someone who works in a mine?"
"Both," Lost said, and sure enough, in the lobby was a girl about my age wearing a helmet with a light attached to it, the kind people wear when digging underground. The hat looked a little big on her head, and she took off some oversized work gloves so she could shake my hand.
"I'm Marguerite Gracq," she said. "I spell it in the French way."
"I'm Lemony Snicket," I said. "I think my name is spelled the same in any language."
"Around town they say you're something of a detective."
"Around town they're wrong. I'm something else."
"Well, I need some help."
"What kind of help?"
- *Literary allusions and witty wordplay abound as expected, with the added fun of getting to play detective."—Kirkus
- "The actual puzzles are dandy, and the format is ideal for the author's approach of comic avalanche."—The Horn Book
- "Each mini mystery--just a few pages long--is chock full of wordplay, clever dialogue, noir references, and red herrings....By the end, not all mysteries are solved, nor all questions answered; whodunit aficionados will want to revisit again and again."—School Library Journal
- "Snicketeers will relish the chance to revisit Lemony and several familiar characters."—Booklist
- On Sale
- Apr 1, 2014
- Page Count
- 80 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers