Sunday, November 30, 2014

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket

As a fan of Encyclopedia Brown growing up - and to be honest, I never solved the crime before reading the solution in the back of the book - I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that Lemony Snicket’s new addition to the All the Wrong Questions series was cut from the same mold. To be sure, Mr. Snicket has made the product his own using the characters, settings, and dry humor found in the other books in the AtWQ series, but the book format remains unchanged. Start with a short story. Include a crime to be solved or question to be answered. Reveal clues throughout the story. Give the solution in the back of the book. Repeat.

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents includes the same cast of characters from All the Wrong Questions. In the two previous books, young Lemony Snicket has earned a reputation in Stain’d-by-the-Sea as someone who can solve problems, and with the town’s population dwindling, there is a distinct lack of such people in town. Stain’d-by-the-Sea’s residents start requesting Snicket’s help with their problems.

There’s stolen gold, a missing newt, and a car out for a joyride. There’s a person who eats too many muffins, broken windows, drifters, and numerous other mysteries to be solved by careful readers … or if you need to turn to the back of the book, there are solutions to be revealed to the not-so-careful readers.

As always with a Lemony Snicket book, there’s more here than one first realizes. Will you catch the clues to the larger All the Wrong Questions storyline? Will you remember the nuggets of information revealed about some of the main characters? Will you find the information hidden in plain view in the solutions? And who will get the last word? (The last word being “_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .” as shown on the last page.)

With thirteen short mysteries, 13 Suspicious Incidents will appeal to readers who like everything to get wrapped up quickly. Thankfully, at least for this reader, solving the crimes before reading the solutions is optional.

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