File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents: Reports 1-6
Art by Seth
Hachette Book Group, 2014
From back of the book: “Attention: Please find herein thirteen (13) cases investigated by Lemony Snicket during his apprentice ship in the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. Every detail of his inquiries into local kidnappings, supernatural occurrences, violent vandalism, and food theft has been described and cataloged in these pages. For security reasons, the conclusions to these suspicious incidents have been carefully hidden. You can find them easily at the back of the book.
“If you are not a member of our secret organization, hello there. This is a blank book which you shouldn’t read.”
It’s been a while since I read the series by Lemony Snicket, “All the Wrong Questions” but this book (and its companion volumes of the same name, “Reports 7-13” and “Book 2.5”) should be read around the same time. As they all focus on the central character, a young spy named Lemony Snicket and the reader follows him around on his adventures. When I read the original series I thought about reading these ‘suspicious incident reports’ then but didn’t and now I wish I had. While these books are definitely imaginative and a classic ‘Snicket’ (a word which here means “oddly written, bizarre subject matter, and quite fun in an obtuse and loquacious sort of way”) book, there’s not a lot of background to fully flesh out the secondary characters for a new reader. That doesn’t mean the stories aren’t enjoyable, it just took me a little bit to get back into the ‘Snicket’ mindset and take everything I was reading with a very large chunk of salt.
Lemony Snicket is, well, Lemony Snicket and if you’ve never read his books you won’t know what I mean. If you want to try, please do so but leave your rational mind on the title page – you won’t need it while enjoying his light madness. If you have read his books, you’ll most definitely enjoy this one – but read it right after (or during) “All the Wrong Questions” for the greatest effect (a phrase which here means “you’ll need ‘phone-a-friend’ or you’ll be lost without a lifeline to sanity”).
Rating 4 out of 5 paws because in Lemony Snicket’s reality you can only judge his books against his other books and this one is pretty good – also, I was able to figure out most of the mysteries before I read the solutions!