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"Who Could That Be at This Hour?" (All the Wrong Questions) Hardcover – October 23, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 305 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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, MIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Oh, Lemony Snicket. How you confound us. For instance, in this book, the first of the All the Wrong Questions series, you give us so many unmoored happenings that readers may be inclined to believe they’ve landed in the middle of the second book. True, we will learn you’re an almost-13-year-old boy and that you escape your parents (or are they your parents?!) in a tea room to meet the woman with whom you’ll apprentice. And then you and S. Theodora Markson (what does the S stand for?) make your way to a sea town, now devoid of the ink for which it’s famous, and deserted by its residents, to find a statue rather like the Maltese Falcon, only it’s the Bombinating Beast. Someone is waiting for you back home, but who? What’s this secret program you seem to be a part of? Who cares about the Bombinating Beast? (You may take that comment any way you wish.) But just as when you were with those charming Baudelaire children, the adventures roll and one can only speculate what’s around the corner. Not that it will do any good. Kudos to Seth for the marvelous woodcut art. The pictures seem to hold clues. Or do they? HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Please, it’s Lemony Snicket. Enough said. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper

Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Series: All the Wrong Questions (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316123080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316123082
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lemony Snicket claims he was nowhere near the scene of the crime. He is the author of several other unpleasant stories, including those in the bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Lump of Coal.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm not a kid who grew up with and loved Lemony Snicket's Series/Unfortunate Events...I'm a 40-something who loved them...I was so happy to learn a new series was here...it has all the charm of the previous series and even more...adults are still the inmates running the asylum and from S. Theodora Markson to the "Officers Mitchum" to others, "Snicket" (Daniel Handler) has once again created some absurd, ridiculous, and unforgettable characters. The first appearance of "word which here means..." warmed my heart and soul considerably. There are some true giggle-out-loud moments but I won;t give them away in the review. You HAVE to read the book! In Ellington Feint he has drawn the best femme fatale since Jessica Rabbit and in Moxie Mallahan a sweet and intrepid sidekick. It's a genius of Handler that he captures the innocence and angst of affection between and among teens so well. Can;t wait for book #2. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Format: Hardcover
Last year I was running a bookgroup for kids, ages 9-12, when the subject of children's books adapted into films came up. We talked about the relative success of Harry Potter, the bewildering movie that was City of Ember, and the gorgeous credit sequence for A Series of Unfortunate Events. Then one of the younger members, probably around ten years of age, turned to me and asked in all seriousness, "Do you think they'll ever make a movie out of The Spiderwick Chronicles?" I was momentarily floored. It's not often that kids will remind me that their memories of pop culture are limited to their own experiences, but once in a while it happens. This girl couldn't remember back five years to that very film adaptation. And why should she? She was five then! So when I see a new Lemony Snicket series acting as a kind of companion to the aforementioned A Series of Unfortunate Events I wonder how it will play out. The original series was popular around the time of that Spiderwick movie. Does that mean that the new series will founder, or will it be so successful that it brings renewed interest to the previous, still in print and relatively popular, books? Personally, I haven't a clue. All I know is that the latest Lemony Snicket series All the Wrong Questions is a work of clever references, skintight writing, and a deep sense of melancholy that mimics nothing else out there on the market for kids today. That's a good thing.

To be a success in Snicket's line of work it's important to know how to ask the right questions. And this is a problem since Snicket finds it difficult doing precisely that. He was supposed to meet his contact in the city. Instead, he finds himself whisked away to the country to a dying town called Stain'd-by-the-Sea.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lemony Snicket has always reminded me a little bit of Edward Gorey (which here means creating settings where a boy named Neville might just die of ennui (which here means boredom)) and Roald Dahl (which here means creating adult characters who act mean and stupid because that's what adults are).

His series of Unfortunate Events was immensely popular and as we all know following up one popular series of books with another is not easy. Harper Lee stopped after "To Kill a Mockingbird" which was probably a good thing. Stop while you're ahead. J.K. Rowling decided to write some more which would have only been a good idea if Harry Potter was still somehow involved.

But Lemony Snicket, in his new book "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" may have broken the trend. I found this book very readable (which here means I couldn't put it down) and his characters and setting perhaps more relatable and enjoyable than anything else he has previously written.

Dare I say that the thirteen-year-old Snicket who narrates the book is far more optimistic, caring and kind than his adult persona that narrates the Series of Unfortunate Events? Dare I say that this series may even hold more promise than his last?

There were times when this book reminded me of a twisted version of Encyclopedia Brown with Lemony as Brown and his lighthouse keeper's daughter friend Moxie as Encyclopedia Brown's trusty sidekick Sally. There was even a Bugs Meeny character. I loved Encyclopedia Brown and that this book reminded me of him is a good thing.

There were also times when Lemony reminded me of a young Sherlock Holmes, given his own Irene Adler and his own Baker Street Irregulars in the form of taxi cab enthusiasts Pip and Squeak.

All good things.

And good things make me want to read more.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was really... confusing... I really loved it, but at the same time I found it really annoying. For the most, just the right balance between dark & moody and wit & humor.

Great things in the book:

*) I loved the imagery; the settings were tangible and evocative and surreal - places from everyday life, but with a twist in unexpected ways

*) The word-smithing was delightful... clearly the author has a love of language and does a wonderful job of introducing exotic words (for the target age range) and providing context without derailing the story

Things I didn't like so much...:

*) All the adults in the book are portrayed as bumbling simpletons; it would have been nice to have a couple portrayed with more depth (disclaimer: being an adult myself perhaps I have a skewed perspective ;-) )

*) Despite the mystery and intrigue the story felt shallow in places; I wish there were more background to root the characters as I was often left disoriented

*) The ending left me feeling somewhat cheated... there could have been more resolution without limiting the potential for the rest of the series...

Overall, a good, enjoyable read. I will definitely get the next one in the series, but I'll probably wait to buy it in paperback.
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