Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket

     A missing lizard. A ghostly apparition. Random vandalism. These are some of the mysteries Lemony Snicket must solve in File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents.
     Knowing Mr. Handler’s sense of humor, I have no doubt this is a parody of Encyclopedia Brown. In each short chapter, the young Lemony Snicket must solve an odd mystery for his friends in the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. With wry humor and his usual common sense (which is very rare in the Snicket universe), Lemony  manages each mystery…except for the last. Like the Encyclopedia Brown books, the answers are in the back for dull readers such as myself (well, I got some of them). But also included in the back are answers to mysteries not mentioned in the book-presumably mysteries from the book series as a whole. Also, S. Theodora Markson’s hair is becoming even more unmanageable. Woman needs some conditioner for that hair, I’d say.
     Apart from the tongue-in-cheek literary references (I love all the references and shout-outs in these books), one chapter in particular stood out, and showed that this was a very different kind of book from the ASoUE books. In those books, the villainy is over-the-top and cartoonish. AtWQ seems to be the middle ground between the nonsense of the first series and the real world. In the chapter that caught my eye, the entire mystery was an abusive father looking for his son, who has run away, and who threatens to beat Lemony as well if he doesn’t help. While it’s told wryly, it definitely shows this was written for somewhat older readers, and is an oddly serious part of a generally snarky series. (No worries-Lemony does his level best to be unhelpful, and the father goes away empty-handed.)
     So while we have time to puzzle over the added mysteries given in the form of no question (what is 7X6, perhaps?), the cover of the next book in the series has been revealed. Our villain Hangfire is getting closer with every step, and arson is rampant in the town. (What’s with all the firebugs in these books???)

     I guess we’ll see what happens come September 30th.

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