When Did You See Her Last? All the Wrong Questions
To stop publishing Lemony Snicket—now that would be an unfortunate event. Fortunately, Little, Brown and Company brings us a new comical crime from the author made famous by his chronicles of the ill-fated Baudelaire orphans.
In the little town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea, a brilliant chemist by the name of Cleo Knight has gone missing. Thirteen-year-old Snicket, accompanied by his chaperone S. Theodora Markson, embarks on a detective case that leads somewhere and nowhere at the same time. Lemony’s first clue is a piece of paper that he finds at the Knight family residence. Although nothing is scrawled on it, there are indentations that hint at contact of pen on paper, and it smells of an ingredient that would be used in invisible ink. Working on a thread of hope, Snicket holds the paper up to a light bulb. “After several minutes of exposing the paper to heat, I looked at it and read what it had to say:
…In other words, nothing. But the curious thing was that the nothingness was finally a clue I could use.”
Snicket’s initial exploration of Stain’d-by-the-Sea leads to another disturbing clue: Cleo Knight’s vehicle, abandoned in front of the grocery store with a hypodermic needle stuck in one of the tires. And according to his interviews with the townspeople, Cleo Knight has run away to join the circus. In this messy picture of unconnected dots, Snicket takes it upon himself to discover whether or not Cleo is in danger
The classic “whodunit” asks the question on the cover of Snicket’s book: When Did You See Her Last? The question is crucial, but is it the right one? In a tale full of unexpected turns, Snicket takes us on an adventure that depends on asking the right things. Lemony laments, “I was wrong about all of it…I asked the wrong question—four wrong questions, more or less. This is the account of the second.”
Written with delightful bits of sarcasm and humor, Snicket’s narrative style is sure to lure readers of all ages. Be prepared to meet a quirky cast of characters, and see what kind of shenanigans we get into by taking a gander at the wrong questions. – Joanne Mallari
Also available by Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events (books 1-13); File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents; The Composer Is Dead (w/Carson Ellis and Nathaniel Stookey; Who Could It Be at This Hour?; The Beatrice Letters (w/Brett Helquist); 13 Words (w/Maria Kalman); The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Lump of Coal (w/Brett Helquist); Horseradish (w/Mark Tucker); The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming; The End.