Lemony Snicket Wiki
Lemony Snicket Wiki

I've got to get that formula finished. It's a puzzle, but I've got to solve it. Invisible ink that actually works could make Ink Inc. a successful company again. We could save this town from all the people who want to destroy us. I've got to do it myself.

Cleo Knight is the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Knight, and the only granddaughter of Ingrid Nummet Knight (the founder of Ink Inc.)

She is a brilliant chemist and is very close to her identical twin housekeepers, Zada and Zora. She also owns a fancy car called Dilemma. She is working on a formula to make invisible ink in hopes of restoring Stain'd-by-the-Sea to its former self.


Cleo is an intelligent and caring chemist. Despite fraught circumstances, she remains determined to finish her formula and save the town. She wants to keep her associates, sweetheart, and friends safe, but is often willing to risk her own safety in her attempts to save the town. She sometimes blames herself for the scrapes that the associates get into, thinking that if only she was quicker at finishing her formula, everything would be better. Cleo is quick to throw herself into danger when it might allow for progress on her formula, or the safety of her associates, or the bettering of the town — such as when she and Jake try to help put out a suspicious fire in Shouldn't You Be In School?, pulling the Talkies out of the blaze as it worsened.

She has a rather black-and-white view of morality, seeing people as either evil or noble. Cleo is also very quick to find gaps in people’s reasoning and point out evidence or suspicions in cases that the associates take on — this sometimes leads her to jumping to conclusions, such as her quick suspicion of arson and sabotage during the fire in SYBIS.


Early Life

Cleo Knight really is a brilliant chemist. Usually, invisible ink is just some nonsense with lemon juice, but she's almost perfected a new formula, with a secret ingredient she discovered herself. There will be invisible inkwells everywhere, she told me, just as soon as the formula is finished. People will go back to work. Stain'd-by-the-Sea will thrive again. The octopi will no longer be endangered. They could even put the sea back where it belongs, all because of Cleo Knight's formula. Can you imagine? Invisible ink that actually works.

One of Cleo's trophies.

When Cleo was born, she was brought home from the hospital by Zada and Zora, who were very close with her. She inherited her grandmother's intellect and became very interested in chemistry. She won several awards and trophies for her experiments.

Cleo started dating Jake Hix, but her parents didn't approve of her dating someone so lower-class, so they kept their relationship secret. He was the only one who called her "Cleo," while everyone else just called her "Miss Knight."

She received a Dilemma car as a gift from her parents a few months before the events of When Did You See Her Last?, and she was known for wearing only black-and-white to honor the family Ink business. She also was noted to almost exclusively eat Schoenberg Cereal for breakfast, which Polly Partial said nobody else bought.

She began to theorize that when the bell at Wade Academy rang to tell everyone in town to don their masks, that there was no scientific purpose for it, and it was simply a fading superstition.[1]

When Did You See Her Last?

But that story is over now, Flammarion. You'll never get your hands on my formula, and I'll never rest until Stain'd-by-the-Sea is a proper town again.
Cleo chemistry.gif

After her father's disastrous decision to drain the sea crippled the economy of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, Cleo's parents decided to move away and abandon Ink Inc. Cleo wasn't ready to give up on her town, and she was secretly working on a formula for invisible ink that could save the industry. A few weeks before the move, her parents started being treated by Dr. Flammarion, who was secretly dosing them with laudanum, which kept them from thinking straight. This resulted in Cleo feeling incredibly lonely. Hangfire claimed to Snicket that Cleo would visit Colophon Clinic with Dr. Flammarion to study chemistry and visit Colonel Colophon.

A few weeks before her capture, Cleo went to Black Cat Coffee to try to get the machine to make her tea to help her think. Ellington Feint convince her to try coffee, and they came up with a plan to help Cleo stay in Stain'd-by-the-Sea; Cleo would run away and continue her experiments in Handkerchief Heights, while Ellington would dress like her and go around town, talking about joining the circus to throw any investigators off the trail. Ellington gave Cleo a raspberry beret that matched her own, and Cleo helped Ellington bleach her hair. The only other person who knew the plan was Cleo's sweetheart, Jake Hix. Cleo tried to leave a note for her parents and Zada and Zora in her invisible ink, but it still wasn't working. She left another note, which was later destroyed by Flammarion.

Cleo sent Ellington to Partial Foods to begin their plan, while she went for tea at Hungry's Diner and said goodbye to Jake. While she was gone, Flammarion pierced her tire with a needle, and when she couldn't get her Dilemma to move, he offered her a ride, only to kidnap her and take her to the Colophon Clinic, where he chained her in a cellar and forced her to continue h

Cleo confronts Dr. Flammarion.

er experiments so that the Inhumane Society could have her formula for their own uses. While there, she learned that they had plans to kidnap and imprison other children for their plans.

When Lemony Snicket and his associates break into the Clinic to look for her and fight Nurse Dander and Hangfire, Cleo convinces Dr. Flammarion to lend her a hairpin, which she uses to pick the lock on her chain. She confronts Flammarion as Snicket and Jake open the hatch to let her out, and she destroys the equipment she'd been forced to use. She brings Flammarion to the Officers Mitchum, and then uses her chemistry knowledge to treat Moxie Mallahan's wound. Cleo explains that she's going to stay in Handkerchief Heights and gather ingredients for her formula from Offshore Island.

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

Cleo is briefly mentioned in the incident "Ransom Note", as her Dilemma is being fixed up by Jackie, who requires Snicket's help in finding their dog. Her Dilemma is later taken for a joyride by Jackie's grandfather.

Shouldn't You Be in School?

Something's happening in this town. The people inside this Dilemma might be the only ones I trust anymore.

Cleo is still living in Handkerchief Heights and trying to find the formula for invisible ink that actually works. Jake starts growing fresh vegetables in a garden outside the cottage, which he and Cleo work together to tend.

Jake tells Cleo that Snicket is investigating suspicious fires, and soon after, a suspicious fire is set at Stain'd Secondary School. Cleo and Jake arrive to see that the Talkie Brothers, who make up the Official Fire Department, have accidentally made the blaze worse and they have to rescue them. Cleo discovers that the fire hydrants that connected to the hoses were sabotaged with a dangerous chemical, as she'd been using the same chemical in her formula experiments. After the fire, all students at the school were transferred to Wade Academy.

"Don't distract the driver, Jake."

Cleo, Jake, and Moxie have breakfast at Hungry's, when Snicket arrives and asks about the fire. The group leaves with him, and Cleo drives them to the Department of Education, as Snicket thinks that Kellar Haines may be of help to them. When Snicket mentions that Kellar was talking about Italian, Cleo reveals that she knows some Italian cooking terms, including that the Italian term for lime is Limetta, cluing Snicket to the fact that the supposed witness to the barn fire- Harold Limetta- wasn't real, as Kellar had been trying to tell him "there were no Italian lime trees around." Sharon Haines had made up Harold Limetta in order to frame Dashiell Qwerty for arson.

As they enter the building, 350 Wayward Way, Cleo spots a "cigarette" and finds it interesting, pocketing it. Moxie reveals that she couldn't find any information on the Department of Education, and that the Department of Education itself is fake, as Stain'd-by-the-Sea only had one school. Snicket pushes down a false wall, which holds a tape player that played false sounds of an office in order to fool Snicket and S. Theodora Markson. At that moment, a van appears from the Department of Truancy, another false organization, and Sharon Haines and Hangfire arrive in masks and kidnap Jake, Cleo, and Moxie, as well as Kellar, who was hiding in the building.

The associates are taken to Wade Academy, where the students are all kept drugged with laudanum. Cleo finds something that she assumes is bark from nearby shrubs, which, when chewed on, fights the effects of the drug, and hands it out to the rest of her associates- Jake, Kellar and Ornette Lost, though there isn't enough to give to Moxie. Ellington fights the effects with coffee, which she shares with the others. This "something" made up the cigarette Cleo had found earlier. Stew Mitchum is patrolling the school, and he tries to rip up Moxie's notes; Cleo stops him by kicking him in the shin. That night, Snicket sneaks into the school and they all meet in the library, where they discuss Hangfire's plan and Snicket reveals his involvement with VFD, a secret organization. He recruits the associates and then asks them to go on the field trip planned for the next day to spy, telling them to meet at Hungry's as soon as they can slip away.

Cleo meets with her Associates before the field trip.

The next morning, Jake, Cleo, Ornette, and Moxie meetup with Snicket while masked and gathering for the field trip, and Snicket asks them to throw a wagon over a wall. He doesn't explain, instead explaining they all have to work with a fragmentary plot, and while Ornette distracts Stew, they throw over the wagon before boarding the bus, and then Snicket asks them to empty the library of its blank books and throw them over the wall.

After the school bus stops at the loading dock for Partial Foods, where Sharon Haines orders the students to steal honeydew melons. Jake, Cleo, and Moxie escape to Hungry's, where they meet up with Snicket, who was beaten by Stew Mitchum. Cleo treats his injuries, and he tells them that Hangfire is planning to burn down Dicey's Department Store and to go there to stop him. They go, only to find out later that Snicket sent them as a distraction while he and Ellington kept Stew from burning the library.

Cleo concocts some medication for the Talkies' wounds and later meets with her associates and Josephine at Handkerchief Heights, where they have dinner and discuss their next move against Hangfire. They decide to make sure they're not seen together in order to keep Hangfire from figuring out their fragmentary plots, and then they play a game of Beethoven.

Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?

I thought we were going to have to pull some crazy stunt to get on board The Thistle of the Valley. I wanted to leap onto the train and use the railings to climb aboard, but Jake said it was too dangerous.

Cleo and the associates gather their research.

Ornette sends Jake and Cleo a folded paper train, signaling them that they need to get onto The Thistle of the Valley, the train that goes out of Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Cleo drives them in the Dilemma and suggests leaping onto the train and using the railings to climb aboard, though Jake thinks it's too dangerous. The train stops at Offshore island, and Cleo and Jake sneak aboard the train and find Kellar, Moxie, and Snicket. While getting inside, they see Stew Mitchum let a masked figure into the Officers' Lounge. Snicket tells his associates that Qwerty has been murdered and that his chaperone was framed for the crime. He leaves to meet with Hangfire and asks them to compile all their research.

When Snicket returns, the associates have been joined by Ornette Lost, and he explains that Stew was Qwerty's murderer. Cleo then tells Snicket that she and Jake have been investigating the "bark" that they'd used at Wade Academy, as they'd realized it wasn't bark, but instead some mysterious material that they later realize is the shedded skin of the Bombinating Beast. Stew arrives to escort Snicket to his meeting with Hangfire, and Cleo and Jake go to fetch the authorities. Cleo and her associates later witness Hangfire summon the Bombinating Beast, and watch Snicket feed the villain to the monster.

After the train crashes, the passengers exit, and Cleo helps Snicket and her associates explain everything to them. Snicket says that he believes she'll be able to rescue Stain'd-by-the-Sea from ruin with her formula and that she and Jake were lucky to have found each other. Before he leaves, he sees her sketching something on a scrap of paper while Walleye, Pocket, and Eratosthenes watch. She waves goodbye to him as he leaves the town and goes into the Clusterous Forest.

Physical Appearance


Cleo is described as having platinum blonde hair, and glasses that make her eyes look small.

As with the rest of her family, she is known as only wearing black and white to honor the ink industry; the only article of clothing she had that was not black or white was the raspberry beret that Ellington Feint gave her during their plan to disguise Ellington as her.

While her exact age is not known, she is described as several years older than Lemony Snicket, and she is old enough at the time of the books to get her drivers' liscence, meaning she is likely around sixteen.


When Did You See Her Last?

I'm glad to see you too, Jake. I'm sorry I didn't get in touch with you earlier, but I was chained up in a basement and forced to continue my experiments. I had it worse than that girl in that book, who goes to live with that family the Reeds, and everyone is cruel to her.
— Chapter Twelve
It was an ordinary enough pin tumbler lock. The trick was getting Flammarion to lend me a hairpin. But of course I needed you to come, Jake. I needed someone to open that hatch. And I needed someone to help me take this terrible man to the police.
— Chapter Twelve
You're a monster. You drugged my parents until they couldn't think straight. You destroyed the note I left for my parents and Zada and Zora. You vandalized my car and lured me into your clutches. You locked me down here and made me work on invisible ink so you could fill this clinic with children and continue your treachery.
— Chapter Twelve
Mimi Mitchum: Is this true?
Cleo Knight: Of course it's true. Nobody would make up something like that.
—Chapter Twelve
She'll be all right. See what you can find in those rooms we passed.
— Chapter Twelve
I'll answer all your questions, Moxie, as soon as we fix up your arm.
— Chapter Twelve
Lemony Snicket: Will Moxie be OK?
Cleo Knight: It'll be a few days before she can type, but she'll be fine, Snicket. Let me work. I can heal a cut. Chemistry is a branch of science dealing with the basic elementary substances off which all bodies and matter are composed.
Lemony Snicket: I never found it interesting until now.
Cleo Knight: Hopefully, the whole town will find it interesting before long.
Lemony Snicket: How close are you to finishing the formula?
Cleo Knight: I don't know. I thought I was close a few nights ago and tested it out in my bedroom, but it didn't work.
—Chapter Twelve
I have a theory, that the masks aren't for a scientific reason at all. They're just superstition- another fading myth in this town.
— Chapter Twelve
Lemony Snicket: You'll need help.
Cleo Knight, smiling at Jake Hix: I have help.
—Chapter Twelve

Shouldn't You Be in School?

Not long after Jake told me you were investigating suspicious fires, a suspicious fire started. We rushed to the scene to see if we could help.
— Chapter Six
I know what went wrong. It was sabotage.
— Chapter Six
Jake Hix: Let's take the Dilemma. Cleo shouldn't be seen much in town anyway.
Cleo Knight: You worry too much about me.
Jake Hix: If I don't worry, who will?
—Chapter Six
Moxie Mallahan: It's part of the formula for invisible ink?
Cleo Knight: This is off the record, but yes, it is.
Moxie Mallahan: Are you close to finishing the formula?
Cleo Knight: Not as close as I'd like to be.
Jake Hix: You'll get there. I know you will.
Cleo Knight: Don't distract the driver, Hix.
—Chapter Six
Cleo Knight: I learned a few Italian cooking terms from Zada and Zora when I was small.
Lemony Snicket: You must miss them.
Cleo Knight: I hope my work will eventually bring them back to town. Then I might learn more than anguilla Livornese and granita di nocino.
Lemony Snicket: Do you know the Italian words for 'lime'?
Cleo Knight: Limetta.
—Chapter Six
Snicket, tell your friends what's going on.
— Chapter Six
Moxie Mallahan: I don't go to school.
Cleo Knight: None of us do.
—Chapter Six
We're having a pretty tough time here, Snicket.
— Chapter Nine
I know Ellington hasn't always been trustworthy, but without her coffee I'm not sure we'd be here talking to you.
— Chapter Nine
Lemony Snicket: Our members are found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between us when we meet.
Cleo Knight: Like us. We've all read The Wind in the Willows, so we decided to use that as a code.
—Chapter Nine
Cleo Knight: Can we join?
Lemony Snicket: It seems to me you already have joined.
—Chapter Nine
And there may be a time, when our town disappears altogether, and Stain'd-by-the-Sea only survives as a name for Hangfire's villainous deeds.
— Chapter Nine
Our secret errand is to smash up a wagon?
— Chapter Ten
Jake Hix: Let's save all the thank-yous for the victory party.
Moxie Mallahan: Victory party? It's a little early to be planning that, isn't it?
Cleo Knight: Don't mind Jake. He's just thinking up new recipes so he won't get scared.
—Chapter Ten
Well, that's done, although I must say this still doesn't make any sense, Snicket. Surely we have better things to worry about than a wagon.
— Chapter Ten
What are we going to do with a bunch of blank books?
— Chapter Ten
Cleo Knight: Egad, Snicket. What happened to you?
Lemony Snicket: I abandoned my sister in a train station.
—Chapter Twelve
Lemony Snicket: That trunk probably smells awful right now.
Cleo Knight: I'll mix up a good deodorizer. Let's worry about other things.
—Chapter Twelve
Whatever this fragmentary plot is, your part in it is done, Snicket. You need to spend the rest of the day in bed.
— Chapter Twelve
We saved the library, but the librarian got a raw deal.
— Chapter Thirteen
It is an emergency. While we eat a fancy meal, Hangfire's still skulking around, and all those children are still on Offshore Island, dazed and obedient from all that laudanum.
— Chapter Thirteen

Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?

What's the plan? What's with those statues? How are we going to defeat Hangfire? How did you get him to come aboard?
— Chapter Seven
Why would Theodora kill someone who has integrity and pluck and has read a great many books in the hope of repairing the world?
— Chapter Seven
Can we do it, Snicket? Can we really save Stain'd-by-the-Sea before it's gone completely?
— Chapter Seven
We're all responsible. If my formula was done, we wouldn't worry about Hangfire's mess.
— Chapter Eleven
Ornette Lost: I've never been this far, not since they built this part of the railway line.
Moxie Mallahan: From the seafloor, you can't see the light of the lighthouse at all.
Cleo Knight: In the dark, you can't see any of the inkwells.
—Chapter Eleven
It's not hay, and it's not seaweed, or bark. This is what we've been working on, Snicket, quietly, without telling you or anyone else.
— Chapter Eleven
Plenty of things happened. It became harder to find octopi, so Ink Inc.'s ink became weaker and fainter. It made the articles in the newspaper seem less certain, and people who read it became uncertain themselves.
— Chapter Thirteen
Cleo Knight: They set explosions, and they performed sinister experiments.
Jake Hix: They stole, and they kidnapped.
—Chapter Thirteen
Cleo Knight: That's why we were finding more and more of this.
Jake Hix: It might look like bark, but it's shed skin.
Cleo Knight: The Beast was molting, shedding its skin, and growing.
—Chapter Thirteen



Ingrid Knight
Ignatius Knight
Doretta Knight
Cleo Knight