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File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents (All the Wrong Questions) Hardcover – April 1, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—In his signature Snickety style, the author of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (HarperCollins) and creator of that oddball little town known as Stain'd by the Sea offers 13 case files reminiscent of Donald Sobol's Two-Minute Mysteries (Scholastic, 1969). Set in the same locale as the previous installments in the "All the Wrong Questions" titles and starring a young Lemony Snicket investigating strange occurrences as part of his apprenticeship for a shady "secret organization," this companion book can be enjoyed by die-hard fans as well as readers new to the series. Each mini-mystery—just a few pages long—is chock-full of wordplay, clever dialogue, noir references, and red herrings. The short chapters end with a cliff-hanger and kids may consult "Sub-file B" at the back of the work to see how the brilliant young detective solved the crime. Black-and-white illustrations highlight key details and provide a few subtle clues along the way. Though there is a narrative thread connecting the individual tales, readers can also delve into the separate cases one-by-one with equal enjoyment. By the end, not all mysteries are solved, nor all questions answered; whodunit aficionados will want to revisit again and again.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal
Fans of the All the Wrong Questions series will have to wait for answers to its bigger questions while Lemony Snicket meets Encyclopedia Brown. Oh, not literally. Young Lemony is still in Stain’d-by-the-Sea (why is the town falling apart?) and still in the company of mentor S. Theodora Markson (who exactly is she?), but he’s taking a pause to solve 13 mysteries, Brown-style: short conundrums with the answers at the book’s conclusion. The main difference between Snicket and Brown is that the former has a much bigger vocabulary and far better allusions (eating maple syrup is like drinking the blood of a tree), while the latter chooses mysteries that are easier for readers to solve. That said, Snicketeers will relish the chance to revisit Lemony and several familiar characters (in every sense of that word!). Once again, Seth’s black-and-white illustrations are charming (and occasionally worrisome). But after this delightful detour, Snicket, please return to the problems at hand, as Stain’d-by-the-Sea is losing residents faster than rats departing a sinking ship. (The kind of rats Billy Becker tries to catch in his old pillow case—see the chapter “Troublesome Ghost.”) Grades 4-6. --Ilene Cooper
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it has the normal Snicket quality. While I'm sure this was a fun exercise for the author, it resulted in a book which has basically nothing to do with the larger conflict of the series. Which is somewhat okay, in that it doesn't require readers to buy this book in order to catch up with what's going on, but it also doesn't encourage much interest from the reader.
And, with it being thirteen incidents and the book being set in a town with a very small (shown) population, a lot of the mysteries end up revolving around some random person who is passing through. Even less interest for the reader!
So, an interesting new take for Snicket, but definitely not a must for fans of the Wrong Questions.
The book reminded me a little bit of those Goosebumps books with alternative endings in the sense that to read the ending and how the mystery was solved Snicket tells you to go to (xx page) to find out what happened, allowing you to take a jab at solving it yourself before reading who the real culprit is.
It's a very quick read, and I thought it was a nice intermission from the series All the Wrong Questions. Sort of like those short Pixar films played before a Disney movie.