From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6–In this follow-up to “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” (Little, Brown, 2012) 12-year-old Lemony Snicket is an apprentice in a mysterious organization and still stationed in Stain'd by the Sea with his stern and unimaginative chaperone, S. Theodora Markson. (Readers still don't know what the S. stands for.) Lemony and his mentor have been assigned to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Cleo Knight, a brilliant chemist and daughter of the richest couple in town. Markson is content to believe the far-fetched theory that Miss Knight has run away to join the circus and considers the case closed. Lemony is convinced that the girl's disappearance is connected to a string of recent crimes in town and believes that only one man can be responsible: the villainous Hangfire. With a little help from his friends (most of whom are familiar faces from the first book), Lemony sets out to find Miss Knight himself and to stop Hangfire and his dastardly accomplices in their tracks. While the abundant wordplay and several unanswered questions may trip up some younger readers, Snicket goes to great lengths to keep his audience up to speed, recounting backstory and defining advanced vocabulary in a way that is never patronizing, and is in fact fairly humorous. The author's trademark wit and talent for sustaining suspense make this fast-paced, noir mystery a fun choice for kids who enjoy a good whodunit. And for the faithful fans of Snicket's “A Series of Unfortunate Events” (HarperCollins), this is a must-have.–Liz Overberg, Darlington School, Rome, GAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In book two of the All the Wrong Questions series, we find young Lemony still in Stain’d-by-the-Sea, still in the company of mentor S. Theodora Markson, but with a new mystery to solve: Where is Miss Cleo Knight? And what is the secret project on which she has been working? But as Snicket’s pal, reporter Moxie Mallahan, knows, those aren’t the right questions, at least as far as the big picture is concerned. These are: What is this job exactly? Where did you come from? How long will you stay? When will you leave? Why are you investigating things in this town? Though the Cleo case gets closed, the larger issues remain, becoming curiouser and curiouser. While we wait for answers, Snicket introduces a sometimes charming, more often alarming cast of characters: the bickering husband-and-wife police force (and their smirking son, Stew); Pip and Squeak, the taxi-driving Bellerophon brothers; the mysterious (and cute) Ellington Feint; and the mysterious (and sinister) Hangfire—all of whom keep the pages turning. The droll young Snicket makes a perfect presenter as he careens from difficulty to difficulty, yet always with his eye on the ball. Or is it? HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The major marketing campaign continues, including a national author tour. There’s no stopping Snicket! Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper