The series, designed to be a set of prequels to A Series of Unfortunate Events and set in the same universe, made its debut on October 23, 2012 with the first book, entitled Who Could That Be at This Hour?. It is set in a (used-to-be) seaside town called Stain'd-by-the-Sea and focuses on a 12-year-old Lemony Snicket solving mysteries lurking in the town. He forms connections with the people around him, and gradually sees himself through their eyes.
Although it may be considered a children's series as it was written for younger readers in mind, like A Series of Unfortunate Events, it has the same quality that older readers can enjoy, as both series are known for being quite complex often, and ASOUE can be seen as a parody of children's literature.
The listing at barnesandnoble.com states of Who Could That Be at This Hour?: "In a fading town, far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket began his apprenticeship in an organization nobody knows about. He began asking questions that shouldn't have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not have been published, in four volumes that shouldn't be read. This is the first volume."
- Who Could That Be at This Hour?
- When Did You See Her Last?
- Shouldn't You Be in School?
- Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
- File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents (spin-off)
In August 2009, Snicket signed with Egmont Publishing for UK rights to the new series, and in November 2009, Snicket signed with Little, Brown, and Company for North American rights. Although Snicket is no longer working with HarperCollins, Susan Rich is continuing to work as his editor.
When news first broke of the new series, Snicket told the BBC: "I can neither confirm nor deny that I have begun research into a new case, and I can neither confirm nor deny that the results are as dreadful and unnerving as A Series of Unfortunate Events. However I can confirm that Egmont will be publishing these findings." Over the past two years, little information has been available about the new series, due to Egmont Publishing's "fear of jeopardising the final stages of Mr. Snicket's investigations," but Leah Thaxton of Egmont did made a statement about the series: "Usually, I look forward to opening my post. It's exciting to think that I might find a manuscript to bring comfort and joy to any reader. But that morning, when I saw the handwriting on the envelope... Well, how would you feel if you knew you were about to unleash yet more untold misery on the unsuspecting children of this country? We at Egmont can't escape Lemony Snicket's grim story but, for the rest of you, there's time. PLEASE READ SOMETHING ELSE!"
Recently, however, he has revealed that the new series "does have some overlap with [ASOUE], but it's not a continuation," and that his "new series for older children is about more experiences from [his] own life; it takes place at a time before the Baudelaire children were born." Apparently, the series will be a "highly autobiographical account" of Lemony Snicket's adolescence.
On the 1st June, 2012 a sneak peek of chapter one from Who Could That Be at This Hour? was posted by Entertainment Weekly on their website.
The first message sent in affiliation with the website on 28 February 2012 included the first picture below with the headline Why would anyone want to steal this statue?
The second message, sent on 7 March 2012, included the second picture below with the headline Who is Ellington Feint? It reads, "I saw her smile, shadowy in the moonlight. It was a smile that might have meant anything."
The third message, sent on 15 March 2012, included the third picture below with the headline Where has all the ink gone? It reads, "Qwerty looked at me, his face as blank as one of those extra pages tucked in the back of a book for notes or secrets."
The fourth message, sent on 23 March 2012, included the first image below with the headline Drop Everything, reads. It reads, "Watch out for LEMONY SNICKET | March 28 LSATWQ.com"
The fifth message, sent on 28 March 2012, included the second image below with the headline Just a cover until October 23rd? It reads, "Judging a book by its cover is like judging a person for their crimes. You can examine the evidence but you can never know the truth."
The sixth message, sent on 4 April 2012, included the third image below with the headline When does the bell ring? It reads, "The pressure at this depth will make it difficult to breathe otherwise." "Pressure?"
The seventh message, sent on 13 April 2012, included the first image below with the headline How can we stop him?
The eighth message, sent on 19 April 2012, included the second image below with the headline What?
The ninth message, sent on 27 April 2012, included the third image below with the headline It's For Thee. It reads, "A question is like a telephone call. It's best not to answer it until you know who it's from."
The tenth message, sent on 9 May 2012, included the first image below with the headline 804.1. It reads, "Books are like libraries – if you see one open you cannot help disappearing inside." Note: In the Dewey Decimal System, the 800 class contains "Literature, Rhetoric & Criticism." The code 804 is listed as "Not assigned or no longer used."
The eleventh message, sent on 29 May 2012, included the second image below with the headline Keep your eyes on the road. It reads, "The reason children sit in the back seat is that they are the only ones who think to look and see if anyone is following them."
The twelfth message, sent on 14 June 2012, included the third image below with the headline Stormy weather. It reads, "There are days when she felt like a lighthouse with no ocean nearby - useless, but flashy nonetheless."
The thirteenth message, sent on 28 June 2012, included the first image below with the headline And a toothbrush. It reads, "Always pack something formal and black when going on a trip. People die on vacation all the time." The luggage tag within the illustration reads, "S.T.M." These initials likely stand for S. Theodora Markson.
The fourteenth message, sent on 24 July 2012, included the second image below with the headline Cave-dwellers, all of us. It reads, "The world is like an octopus – mysterious, damp, and with more arms than seems necessary."
The fifteenth message, sent on 14 August 2012, included the third image below with the headline Qwerty. It reads, "Villainy is like a typewriter – it's old-fashioned, but it still makes permanent marks."
The sixteenth message, sent on 28 August 2012, included the first image below with the headline Third from the left. It reads, "Each of us is a stranger to someone, and to someone else we are even stranger."
A Series of Unfortunate Events connections
In the A Series of Unfortunate Events TV series, at the end of The Carnivorous Carnival: Part One, there is a brief flash of Lemony talking about the events that happened in ATWQ. He said that it had to wait until now to be told, due to respect for the surviving parties and copyright law.
There are multiple references to book titles in ATWQ in the TV series, including When Did You See Her Last? (The Bad Beginning: Part Two) and Who Could That Be at This Hour? (The Carnivorous Carnival: Part One). Violet also says to Klaus, "That's the wrong question," in The Reptile Room: Part Two.
In the episode The End, a "small black statue of a sea monster" was discoved on the beach after a storm by one of the islanders. This is probably the Bombinating Beast statue from ATWQ, as it bears great resemblance to it.
- ↑ "Who Could That Be At This Hour?. Barnes and Noble.
- ↑ Itzkoff, Dave (26 August 2009). More Lemony Snicket Novels Are Coming. New York Times.
- ↑ Snicket to write new book series. BBC News (25 August 2009). Retrieved on 13 February 2017.
- ↑ Healy, Christopher (5 October 2010). Lemony Snicket Gets Persnickety With P'Dish. ParentDish.com.
- ↑ Lee, Stephan (1 June 2012). Read the first chapter of Lemony Snicket's 'All the Wrong Questions' Book One -- EXCLUSIVE. EW.com.
- ↑ LSATWQ.com