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on 4 September 2013
I enjoyed the "Unfortunate Events" series, and picked this up with some glee, anticipating the sharp wit and double entendres that distinguished that series from the wealth of other children's lit out there. This first of four volumes promised to give readers a closer glimpse of who Lemony Snicket (the narrator behind the Baudelaires' perilous story) was before being involved with the Baudelaires' parents and the VFD.

In this installment, 13-year-old Snicket is apprenticed to the lowest ranked agent, S. Theodora Markson; she of the big, voluminous hair, smallish intellect and a loud scolding voice, who is inevitably always two steps behind Snicket when it came to searching for clues or catching the significance of anything's that observed. The case that they have been assigned is to steal back a statue to return to its rightful owner. The statue is that of a Bombinating Beast in the deserted little town called Stain'd by the Sea, and before long, it becomes apparent that the statue is wanted by more than a few interested parties. One of them is Ellington Feint, a girl who needs it to rescue her kidnapped father, and Snicket forms an uneasy alliance with her. The novel ends with a betrayal and Snicket must plan his next move and possibly ask the right question this time.

Enjoyable, and the author creates yet another believably quaint and mysterious locale in Stain'd by the Sea, with its cast of curious inhabitants. Perhaps there isn't a clear sense of who the villain really is, in the form of the name Hangfire, whom we never meet in the novel, but that is a rather minor complaint.
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on 30 October 2012
Being a fan of 'A Series of Unfortunate Events', I hotly anticipated this new book, and I can assure you it did not disappoint. There are some common threads between the way the two series are written, such as Snicket frequently stopping to explain words in his idiosyncratic way. However, it is certainly different to ASOUE; the tone is less melancholy, and there is the absence of Snicket warning the reader to put the book down. It is also much more fast-paced, which suits the story, with it being more of a detective noir book.

In short, this will please those who are hungry for more of Snicket, but could also win him new fans as it is less miserable and bleak, with tighter writing.
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on 20 February 2016
This book is an absolute classic and a must read for any self respecting fan of books. the descriptions are really vivid so you feel like you are actually there and the characters are all very life-like and amiable. I would highly recommend this book.
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on 9 August 2013
Good stories for children who like a little bit of spooky and sometimes scary reading. This author has written many of these childrens books and usually tells which age group they are suitable for which is a very good helpful thing to know.
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on 19 June 2014
In my younger days I thoroughly enjoyed the series of unfortunate events and was highly awaiting this series when it was announced.

It lived unto my expectations.

With the usual snicket style of wording and plot twists I was on the edge of my seat as if i were aged 14 again !

Amazing story !
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on 25 August 2016
This book was purchased as a gift for someone who has all the series of Lemony Snicket's 'A series of unfortunate events' So it was received with great relish, I am definitly going to borrow it!
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on 25 June 2013
This book was qwite good but it did have some down falls. I don't like the fact that it rushes into the main events. Any way it was a good read my favearait character was s. Theodora markingson
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on 9 January 2016
GOOD GOOD
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on 6 February 2014
All the wrong questions: who could that be at this hour? by Lemony Snicket is a very very good book.
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on 12 March 2016
Struggled to get to the end. Characters a bit too weird for my taste.
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