In the first book in this new four-part series - apparently an autobiographical account of the author's childhood - a young Lemony Snicket must solve a mystery in an almost-abandoned town full of curious characters. The first strange thing is that Stain'd-by-the-Sea is not actually by the sea; instead, it's surrounded by an eerie forest of still-living seaweed. After that, the oddness only increases.
The series is titled All the Wrong Questions, and this theme is revisited throughout the book. Not only does Snicket repeatedly ask the wrong questions, so does everyone around him, meaning that the web of mystery keeps getting larger and more complex. As it's the first book, the ending feels a little unsatisfactory, and doesn't answer many of the reader's questions (whether they're the right ones or the wrong ones). However, it sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the series and ensures that readers will have to pick up the next book.
Quirky, witty and fast-paced, this new series will thrill fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events - or anyone who likes their noir mystery with a good dose of humour.