|“||They say in every library there is a single book that can answer the question that burns like a fire in the mind.||”|
— Dashiell Qwerty, Who Could That Be at This Hour?
Dashiell Qwerty is the sub-librarian of Stain'd-by-the-Sea's library and a member of VFD.
All the Wrong Questions
Dashiell Qwerty was a member of VFD who was positioned as a sub-librarian in Stain'd-by-the-Sea- only a sub-librarian because the poor town could not afford a permanent one. He befriended several of the children in town, such as Jake Hix and Moxie Mallahan, and he introduced them to several of their favorite authors.
Qwerty seems to have information on Hangfire and the Inhumane Society's plots, as he constantly reccomends relevant materials to the children investigating them, and he seems to have had crucial information on Hangfire and the Bombinating Beast that led to his eventual murder.
Lemony Snicket enters the library and finds Qwerty at his desk, swatting at several moths. He suggests that Snicket research Dame Sally Murphy, but Snicket asks to look up old stories about strange creatures. Qwerty leads him to the mythology section ane allows him to browse on his own. When Stew Mitchum arrives an antagonizes Snicket, Qwerty orders him to leave. He informs Snicket that Stew is a nuisance.Snicket is told that he can't check out books, as he does not liivce in own, Qwerty informs him that he can come in and read anything he likes, again implying that he is interested iin theater. He also tells him that he can request a book in the city, and Snicket uses the opportunity to send his sister a message at the Fourier Brance, saying, "Sorry, But I Cannot Meet You At The Fountain."
Snicket returns the next day, as Qwerty is about to unpack the zoological books. He informs Snicket that he receieved a request from the fourier branch, reading "Don T. Worry, I'll Measure It Myself." Snicket requests another book, "Pllease, Be Very, Very Careful." Snicket later finds Qwerty checking the book jackets, telling him that often something is slipped ino the cover of another, cluing Snicket in that he was not given the Bombinating Beast statue, as he'd thought.
When Snicket manages to get the real Bombinating Beast statue, he hides it in the library, replacing the lump in the hidden package with three books and hiding the statue behind An Analysis of Brown, Black and Beige.
Qwerty curiously witnesses Snicket and Ellington Feint enter the library the next day to retrieve the statue.
|“||Serendipity is a happy accident. In a library, that could mean finding something you didn't know you were looking for.||”|
— Dashiell Qwerty, When Did You See Her Last?
After beginning to research chemistry and Colonel Colophon, Snicket finds Qwerty reading a book on oysters, and asks if he has any books on laudanum or other sleeping daughts, histories of chemical espionage, or anything about Colonel Colophon and the clinic named after him. Qwerty then informs the apprentice that most of those books were just checked out, andd Snicket sees a woman lelaving with several books, and sees that she'd returned the three books he'd smuggled out and sent to Hangfire as a decoy statue. Qwerty, per his duty as a librarian, does not reveal any information about her, so Snicket follows her out.
While Moxie is still researching, Qwerty stops by to check on her and leaves a book on the table that clues her into the Inhumane Society's involvement with Colonel Colophon.
Qwerty interrupts Snicket as he reads a book and asks if he could help some patrons of his, as the boy's become known to be good at helping people, and also the library is closing and he probably has nothing better to do. Snicket agrees, and Qwerty closes up the library and brings him through the quiet streets of town. After several blocks, Qwerty leads him through a hole in a chain-link fence to meet his patrons- a group of drifters who are currently visiting Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Qwerty takes him to a shady spot of trees, where the drifters have set up camp. The group greets him warmly, asking if he's going to read to them again, as he'd left them the night before on a cliffhanger "where the bookcase fell on him." Qwerty reminds them that they'd told him that Randall had some trouble, and he'd brought Snicket to help. Snicket listens to Randall's story, and then Qwerty walks him home.
Vanished MessageSnicket recieves a message asking for help retrieving a postcard, and he follows some clues to the library, where Qwerty is shaking ou ta book, as "a certain reader" tends to leave things behind in books she borrows, such as two shed snakeskins and a very fine doily. Snicket goes to the dictionary, and when he can't find what he's looking for, he asks the sub-librarian about the Yamgraz. Qwerty gets excited and tells him that the Yamgraz were the indigenous people of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, and that they were now gone due to the colonization of Stain'd-by-the-Sea that took away their chief product, the oysters. He brings Snicket to the history section, where he finds the book he was looking for that holds the lost postcard.
Figure in Fog
After Snicket gets disinterested in a book ande decides to leave the library, he asks Qwerty how the outside is so foggy if there's no large bodies of water left in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, as he finds this fact suspicious, as well as several things around town. Qwerty reminds him that while these may all seem like suspicious incidents to him, he himself is a suspicious incident to the town. He asks Snicket what he's up to, to which Snicke replies tha he'd like to take a walk.
Qwerty checks up on Snicket, who is supposedly reading Caviar: Salty Jewel of the Tasty Sea. He reccomends Italian dictionaries to him, and tells him that he'd just installed the sprinkler system in the library in case of fire, and that the controls had just been put into the northeast corner of the library. When Moxie enters, looking for Lemony, Qwerty excuses himself and starts swatting at moths. S. Theodora Markson and Snicket start investigating a supposed string of arsons in town. As two of the buildings hit- one that provided wool for the moths of a man named Harold Limetta and Harold Limetta's own home, which housed the moths, Theodora and Sharon Haines conclude that Qwerty is the arsonist, as he would want to get rid of the moths that plague his library. Qwerty figures out that he's being framed and goes to Black Cat Coffee, where he meets Snicket before Harvey and Mimi Mitchum arrive to arrest him. Qwerty asks that Snicket deliver Caviar: Salty Jewel of the Tasty Sea to Ellington, and tells him that "if there's a book [he] wanted to finish," he should do it soon.
Having figured out that Qwerty was her VFD monitor, S. Theodora Markson sneaks onto the train disguised as a conductor, bringing another disguise for Qwerty. Qwerty refuses to leave, wanting to deliver important information about Hangfire to the city that will be able to put a stop to his plans, but Theodora keeps insisting, caring mainly about her evaluation marks.
At that time, Stew Mitchum, working for the Inhumane Society, crashes through the window of the train and murders Qwerty with a poison dart, intending to frame Theodora for the crime.
Later, Jake asks Snicket why, if he suspected Qwerty was a member of VFD, he never asked him; Snicket responds that "You don't ask if someone has integrity and pluck and has read a great many books in the hope of repairing the world. You just watch tehm, and figure it out for yourself."
Snicket describes Qwerty as being "younger than the father of anyone [he] knew" and younger than librarians are thought to be, as well as having a "ragged, angular mess" of hair. He usually wears a black leather jacket decorated with small scraps of metal, and is described as having an incredibly deep voice.
- His first name is most likely a reference to mystery writer Dashiell Hammett. Snicket's first case, where he and his chaperone are hired to find a statue of the Bombinating Beast, bears a strong resemblance to the plot of Hammett's novel The Maltese Falcon.
- His last name is a reference to the first six letters on a standard keyboard or typewriter.
- According to one Snicketmail, "the librarian weep[s] every night". Since Dashiell is the only librarian in the book, it is likely a reference to him.
- His title of sub-librarian is reminiscent of Dewey Denouement's title of sub-sub-librarian.
- In both Who Could That Be at This Hour? and Shouldn't You Be in School?, Qwerty says that "in every library there is a single book that can answer the question that burns like a fire in the mind." This quote is referenced twice in Netflix's television adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- It is quoted first in The Miserable Mill: Part One, when Violet Baudelaire finds the quote written into the beginning of a dictionary by her father, Bertrand Baudelaire. (Notably, Bertrand was S. Theodora Markson's apprentice.)
- The second time it is quoted is by Olivia Caliban in The Austere Academy: Part One. When asked where she learned that phrase, Olivia says that she doesn't know, and that she thinks she must have read it somewhere.
|A Series of Unfortunate Events (Books)|
|1. The Bad Beginning (1999):||Absent||7. The Vile Village (2001):||Absent|
|2. The Reptile Room (1999):||Absent||8. The Hostile Hospital (2001):||Absent|
|3. The Wide Window (2000):||Absent||9. The Carnivorous Carnival (2002):||Absent|
|4. The Miserable Mill (2000):||Absent||10. The Slippery Slope (2003):||Absent|
|5. The Austere Academy (2000):||Absent||11. The Grim Grotto (2004):||Absent|
|6. The Ersatz Elevator (2001):||Absent||12. The Penultimate Peril (2005):||Absent|
|13. The End (2006):||Absent|
|All the Wrong Questions|
|Who Could That Be at This Hour? (2012):||Debut||Shouldn't You Be in School? (2014):||Appears|
|When Did You See Her Last? (2013):||Appears||Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? (2015):||Appears|
|File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents (2014):||Appears|
|Other Snicket Books|
|Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography (2002):||Absent|
|The Dismal Dinner (2004):||Absent|
|The Beatrice Letters (2006):||Absent|
|The Hero of the Story (2017):||Absent|
- 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